The Rose Gardens feature spectacular views of the Columbia as it flows into the Pacific, accented by the scent and beauty of roses, with a chorus of shorebirds while ships sail by. It features over thirty varieties of roses, as well as fuchsias, cherry trees, lilies, jasmine and hellebore. Native vegetation greens the surrounding slopes, and the gardens feature permaculture design. Remnants of the canneries and ghost towns of Altoona and Cottardi Station are visible, and it's our best location for birding, due to ancient conifers that line the river. Regular visitors include a multitude of bald eagles, ravens, pelicans, cormorant, and heron. It's an excellent spot to shipwatch, as craft sailing up-stream float right past the Gardens. Seasonally sea lion pods work the waters off-shore, and deer wander about. Rose Creek has a small stretch through the Gardens as it makes its final descent into the Columbia, restored with native plants and lending gentle sounds to the ambiance.
My stay at The Rose Garden was great! The drive from Portland provided a trip through areas of Washington I've yet to travel and hadn't even known existed -- and now consider myself lucky to.
The views from The Rose Garden are many: from the rock pillars and remnants of the ghost towns when the area was a fishing hotspot to the Coast Range and Saddle Mountain directly across the Columbia River and Astoria further west, there's plenty to enjoy in the distance after you've explored the myriad of native rose species directly surrounding your campsite.
There are plenty of ways to occupy your time: cross the road to the beach, choose your favorite massive piece of driftwood and take in the sunset (or sunrise!); walk through the nature trails in the adjacent woods and experience firsthand the environmental restoration efforts as the native roses and other plants that have been planted thrive where invasive species once ran rampant, or find a nice spot near one of the ancient trees and wait to see how many species of wildlife (sea lions, bald eagles, owls, weasels, porcupines, and many others have returned to the area thanks to the restoration efforts!) decide to say hello.
Sol is a great host and a wealth of knowledge: not only of the natural and cultural history of the land you'll be staying on, but also of the surrounding area. He is also heavily involved with local organizations pertaining to land use and the environment. It was great to meet someone so deeply involved and passionate about the area I was staying in.