Wildflowers in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon

This long, cold winter has resulted in many of us counting the days to spring, and this scene, captured by Laura O. Foster, author and publisher of Columbia Gorge Getaways, is just a glimpse of what we have to look forward to.

Portland-Vancouver residents have easy access to some of the most beautiful hikes during the spring in the Columbia River Gorge, where the wildflower blooms are absolutely brilliant.

Columbia Gorge Wildflowers, Laura O. Foster

Blooming season varies each year, but peak bloom progresses from early March into July, then continues through summer into fall, when rabbit brush blooms after the first autumn rains at the east end of the gorge.

The spring bloom is usually at its best in late April in the eastern gorge, but who know what will happen this spring.