If your car can take the chassis-rattling drive to the Stacker Butte trailhead, you'll be rewarded with one of the most gratifying views-per-mile hikes in Washington. The Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve boasts spreading views of the east side of the Columbia River Gorge, both in Washington and Oregon, and provides one of the only protected areas for houndstongue hawkweed and Idaho fescue grasslands.
As an area providing protection for these plants and several other rare species, it's particularly important to stay on trail and four-legged hiking companions have to stay home from this hike.
The views start almost immediately upon stepping out of your car. Below the trailhead, the rolling hills of Oregon and parts of the Columbia Hills State Park and Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve spread out below you, and the panorama is only going to improve as you hike. The "trail" is straightforward; just a service road winding to the summit, but you'll be happy it is, because the wide, flat track allows you to gawp in all directions as you climb.
Along the way, look for lupine and paintbrush, as well as the low-growing phlox, deep purple larkspur, and of course the ubiquitious balsamroot. Watch these in particularly, as their yellow faces follow the sun throughout the day.
1.1 miles from the trailhead, a small, overgrown round splits off to the right. This is a side trip to Oak Spring, and offers a short detour if you wish. Otherwise, continue on the main track. You're heading toward the unusual array of towers at the top, and you'll reach the first of them at 1.75 miles from the trailhead.
But you're not there yet! The true summit is three-quarters of a mile away, where you can peer into both the Goldendale plains to the east and the majestic Gorge to the south. On the horizons are Mount Hood to the south and Mount Adams to the north. There's also Swale Canyon, bisecting the farmland at the foot of Adams. If you're inclined to other adventures, the canyon offers a nice hike or biking outing.