Columbia Hills State Park (which includes the Horsethief Lake area and Dalles Mountain Ranch area) is a 3,338-acre camping park with 7,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. Horsethief Butte dominates the skyline. It stands over the lake like an ancient castle. The lake itself is about 90 acres in size and is actually an impoundment of the Columbia River. The lake was flooded into existence by the reservoir created by The Dalles Dam.

Small climb up a gravel road with nice wild flowers along the way.

hiking
1 year ago

Perhaps one of the two most spectacular views in the Gorge, the other being from the top of Dog Mountain. It's 2800 feet at the top where the FAA beacon is, which is just about as high as the highest point on Dog Mountain. From that point you can walk around the perimeter of the FAA site and see in all directions. To the south is The Dalles and the rolling fields and farmland. To the north is what's on the other side of Dalles Mountain, which is High Prairie, Swale Canyon, and off to the distance are Goldendale and Mount Adams.

When I was there was no one else around so I had the entire mountain to myself. It was a very hazy day due to the large fire just north of Glennwood.

Did this hike with my four kids. It works well as a family hike. The smallest legs were fading by the time we got to the plateau.

A couple things to note... Discover Pass is required. There is a new sign which says 'no pets' next to no horseback riding. We drove a couple hours with the dog in the car... big gravel road of a trail...we just took him on a leash, but thought I would mention for others.

Wildflowers were still awesome at the top even though they were not at the bottom!

This was a nice, scenic hike and the balsam root flowers (the yellow ones) are out. You can get a great view of the gorge and it is very open the entire way. My only complaint is that there is nowhere to go to the bathroom, as it is open the entire way. No trees, this is not your forest hike. It wasn't too challenging, so if you are the type that enjoys a Dog mountain or Defiance hike you will not get that from this. If you are that type, go do something else beforehand and wear yourself out so that you can really enjoy this.

This was a nice, scenic hike and the balsam root flowers (the yellow ones) are out. You can get a great view of the gorge and it is very open the entire way. My only complaint is that there is nowhere to go to the bathroom, as it is open the entire way. No trees, this is not your forest hike. It wasn't too challenging, so if you are the type that enjoys a Dog mountain or Defiance hike you will not get that from this. If you are that type, go do something else beforehand and wear yourself out so that you can really enjoy this.

This is probably my favorite hike in the whole east Gorge. The terrain is open and the views are outstanding. Best of all, though, is the wildflower display from March to May. It's incredible even in a down year. This year was spectacular. Best of all? There are almost no crowds. If you come after the wildflowers you probably won't see anybody.

This place is awesome!

Off of Highway 14 the road turns to a well maintained gravel road. The trail actually starts a ways up the road where the locked gait is. There is plenty of parking for at least 10 cars. The trail up there is just as the road you drove on, maintained gravel. The elevation grade is is very consistent to the point of boring. I only headed up to the highest point of the trail, due to the lack of trees and the terrain of the area it can get really windy up there with no where to hide. On the bright side at the top you can see both the north side of the hill and the river, so the views are excellent. Also its a protected area so there are fields of flowers to frolic through.

hiking
4 years ago

It was a good little hike around. Found some apple trees. Fairly open most of the time. No one else was around so we were able to
Let our dogs roam. Small creek/waterfall quick into the hike.