If you need an open invitation to go explore a peaceful tree-lined lake in the summertime, consider yourself invited. Go see west Mayer State Park from the top of Rowena Crest and soak in a view of the most beautiful lake around. Both are actually within Mayer State Park, but few people know that.
From the top of Rowena Crest, Mayer can be fully appreciated for its many amenities, including swimming, boating, fishing and picnicking. When the spring wildflowers are in bloom, this is one of the most stunning vistas in the Columbia River Gorge. The timing of the bloom varies, but is normally in March/April.
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According to a 2012 survey of park visitors:
93% of our customers describe being "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their overall experience at Mayer State Park.
94% of our customers reported that they were either "very likely" or "likely" to return to Mayer State Park in the future.
One customer commented, "This is only my second visit. Mayer is a very accessible, fairly low-key park with a nice drive from Portland. I come when I want to drive the Columbia Gorge area, and explore State Parks. Today I came to get some sun when Portland is clouded over."
Please call 503-695-2261 for specific park rules
No metal detecting is allowed in Gorge Oregon State Parks
This park requires a Special Use Permit for special events or activities. Please open the Special Use Permit application to see examples of events that need a permit. If you have questions about whether you need a special use permit for your activity and to receive instructions on how to submit the application, please call 503-695-2261.
The original property for the park, 260 acres, was obtained by a gift from Mark A. Mayer of Mosier in 1924. This property included the Columbia River overlook and the Rowena Loops on the old Columbia River Highway (U. S. 30). From 1956 onward, after the highway was relocated and improved to freeway standards, the purchase of additional park land along the Columbia River and highway right-of-way was negotiated. Various parcels were transferred from the Highway Division to State Parks when they were not needed for highway purposes. The Union Pacific Railroad also passes through the park. Partly forested with ponderosa pine, oak, Douglas fir and maple, much of the land is a rocky river bluff with limited soil. Near the river, there are day-use facilities for swimming and boat access. An outstanding attraction of the park is the view obtained by taking the old highway to the Mayer overlook. The vista is a magnificent panorama of the Columbia River Valley eastward toward The Dalles. In 1946, State Parks Superintendent Sam Boardman recommended keeping the park a wilderness area and asked that the maintenance department remove the sand bunker below the overlook. Adjoining the overlook section of Mayer Park is the Tom McCall Preserve for plants and wildlife. It is named for McCall (1913-1977), who concluded his second term as Governor of Oregon in 1975. The preserve was created between 1978 and 1986 and is owned by The Nature Conservancy.