Columbia Hills Historical State Park
Columbia Hills State Park is a Washington State Park located 6 miles east of Dallesport on SR 14 in Klickitat County. The park occupies 3,338 acres on Horsethief Lake, an impoundment of the Columbia River, and was created in 2003 with the merger of Horsethief Lake State Park and Dalles Mountain Ranch. It also includes Horsethief Butte and Crawford Oaks, both popular hiking areas. Horsethief Lake section of the Columbia Hills Historical State Park is a National Historic Site.
Located on the site of a former Native American village, Columbia Hills State Park is along the rolling hills of the Columbia River Gorge, with nearly two miles of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. This made it the perfect stopping point for the Lewis and Clark expedition on their way to the coast. A group of significant Native American pictographs and petroglyphs are located in this area of the park. The Temani Pesh-Wa exhibit is open daily for self-guided viewing. The world-famous Tsagaglalal, (She Who Watches) and other pictographs and petroglyphs can be viewed by making a reservation to participate in a regularly scheduled ranger-led tour (see Interpretive Opportunities on website for registration instructions).
Across Highway 14 from the main part of Columbia Hills State Park, Horsethief Butte dominates the skyline, standing over Horsethief lake like an ancient castle. The lake itself is enormous, flooded into existence by the construction of The Dalles Dam. Lupine and balsamroot bloom in mid-April, making spectacular fields of purple and gold. Songbirds flit about, while larger birds of prey — like eagles and falcons — soar on air currents high above your head.
The commission combined the park with Dalles Mountain Ranch and renamed the area Columbia Hills State Park in 2003. Now, in addition to the more than 12 miles of hiking trails in the area, visitors can enjoy swimming, freshwater fishing, bird watching and wildlife viewing, sailboarding, and playing horseshoes. Rock climbers also frequent this park. Dalles Mountain is known for the spectacular wildflower displays in the spring.