“Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.”E.V.
My husband heard about this state park and ranch filled with flowers, so we decided to take a detour on our way to Eastern Washington to check it out! Dalles Mountain Ranch, which is part of the Columbia Hills State Park in Lyle, Washington.
Driving down Highway 14, heading East, you’ll see the sign for Dalles Mountain Ranch and a road on the left and then a dirt road on the right. Don’t pass it! Be prepared to drive the 3+ mile dirt road. Before a few of the corners the signs will say they suggest a speed of 30 mph, but that didn’t make sense to us as we were only driving 10 mph! Any faster and the van would start vibrating from the dirt road. It looked like the road had been grated, to prevent people from going too fast, but even so we were still passed by a few folks not concerned about it! We decided to spare our van and drive slowly.
On the left along the way, you’ll see a cute little stream coming down through the rocks. You may not think much of it, but if you take the photo at the right angle, it turns out really nice!
Flowers and a view!
There are beautiful flowers growing all over! I didn’t know what they were called so when I got home, I looked them up (as I had no reception at the park). Turns out the yellow flowers are Gaillardia Aristata aka “Blanket Flower”, which are in the sunflower family. They definitely look like sunflowers! Except they grow in small bunches, almost like daisies.
The Lupine flower (purple), complimented the yellow nicely! There were several blooms, and even more that hadn’t quite bloomed yet. Later in April through May will likely bring even more!
And what a gorgeous view! Flowers for miles…
Same flowers, in the hands of a professional!
My husband is an awesome photographer and he not only took photos of the flowers, he brought them back and worked his magic! You can check out more of his work here: www.jgsolomon.com
There are several trails and places to hike at the park. Just make sure to check out this guide to the trails and the cautions. There are certain areas where there are snakes and ticks, plus you don’t want to get turned around!
Be aware, there is a ton of wind up in these hills. You open the car door and the wind swings the door open for you, so be careful! It’ll whip your hair around quite a bit, so bring a hat! By the time we came back into the car, our ears and hands were cold. I wondered what it would be like in summer with the wind still here, but the summer heat as well.
Even our dog was being blown around!
Don’t go too far!
If you continue down the dirt road, you’ll get to a sign that says “Primitive Road, no warning signs” – and they aren’t joking. It starts out pretty similar to the rest of the road, but then you’ll start hitting potholes and as you begin to climb the hill, the rocks get bigger and much more pointy and sharp. We feared for our van tires, so found an inlet to turn around. There is a pretty nice view up there though, so if you have a back road vehicle, you should be fine!
On your way out
As you leave the park, you may even see the bulls of the farm saying goodbye! There were several, but this one gave us a smile!
Have any of you visited this park at different times of the year? If so, what was your experience like?