In the height of my spring flower madness, I am on the constant look-out for fresh blooms and this past weekend I decided to find Ben and myself a wildflower hike. The best wildflower hikes are near The Dalles, past Hood River along the Columbia Gorge. I've been interested in checking out a few of those hikes (they're supposed to be breathtaking), but am not always interested in driving over an hour to find a place to stroll. A little bit of research (well, a little bit of reading on PoMo) and I found a walk only about 20 minutes south of us in West Linn.
Camassia Natural Area is a 26-acre area on a rocky plateau right above I-205 and about 5 minutes from Lake Oswego. It's a hidden spot that is accessed on a residential street, has about 5 parking spots, and no bathrooms. When we went last Sunday, there were about 10 cars parked along the street and quite a few people taking a mid-morning walk. Camassia was gorgeous and the wildflowers, though past their peak in early May (check their website for wildflower updates), were still mostly a-bloom. It's a very easy walk, about 1.4 miles, and mostly flat, that has a few things to note. About mid-way through the loop, there's an Osprey nest and we were able to see an Osprey flying about very close to the trail. There is also a beautiful view of Mount Hood on a clear day, through a break in the trees. Finally, Camassia is home to a very rare flower that grows only six places in the world - the white larkspur. Apparently it grows along the edges of some of the grassy plains and is hard to spot. The nature conservancy that maintains the park keeps its location hush hush as they don't want people stepping off the trail or disturbing the wildlife.
We had a great sunny walk on Sunday and were greeted, at the start of the loop, by a bunny that had clearly been released by its owners somewhere in the area and had made Camassia its home. Though very cute, some walkers on the trail let us know that the conservancy was in the process of trying to capture the rabbit to remove it from the area.
I'd definitely recommend this walk in the spring (there are probably still blooms!) and with kids! It's easy and beautiful!