Tam-a-lau Trail at Cove Palisades State Park

MODERATE 46 reviews

Tam-a-lau Trail at Cove Palisades State Park is a 6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Culver, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
856 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

walking

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

hiking
1 month ago

I visited The Cove Palisades State Park on an overcast mid-January day.
There are apparently 3 ways to get to the trailhead: park at the day-use or boat ramp parking lots ($5) or start from your camp site (if you overnight there). From the trail-head information panel (sign up the register there if you'd like) it is about 1.25 uphill for a 600ft elevation gain. A bit of a workout but not really too challenging (depending on what shape you are in of course). The trail is sometimes narrow and (I got there after a few days of on-again/off-again rain) muddy. There are a few wooden steps sections in the first half but, again, nothing to put too much of a strain on joints.
Once on the plateau, the main objective is to complete the Tam-a-Lau loop (about 3.5 miles). The loop includes a 1.25 miles traverse between the Deschute River and Crooked River canyons, and hugs the edge of the plateau, above the rivers, for 1+ miles each side. As the trail stays very close to the edge, there are countless opportunities for carefully looking over the edge and taking pictures.
I decided to extend the standard loop by continuing on the dirt road on the west side of the Crooked River Canyon for about 0.66 miles until another dirt road branches at 90 degrees on the left to connect with the South Peninsula (dirt) road after .2 miles. I then descended the South Peninsula Rd for another .75 miles to the edge of the lower plateau above the Crooked River. I then got off the road and followed the edge of the lower plateau for a while; the views a quite amazing on that section too... but stay extra vigilant as it is a fully vertical drop to the river below and the edge is sometimes eroded and starting to separate from the main landmass.
Rather than retracing my steps up the South Peninsula Rd, I followed a use trail directly up to the summit plateau and the Tam-a-Lau loop.
I did give 5 stars on account of the stunning views of the river and the canyon walls (not to forget a short visit to the Crooked River petroglyph just off the road). You have however to love the desert to completely share my enthusiasm; not lush forests, no (accessible) water, sparse arid scrubby vegetation... this is likely a very hot and dry place if you visit it during the warmer times of the year. Of course, in you are here to enjoy water sports too, you would have many options to compensate for a sweaty day on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

We just did this hike for the first time today. It is such a nice hike. Once we made it to the top we enjoyed a panoramic view of the mountains, the cove and the sounding landscape.

hiking
5 months ago

Cove Palisades state park is a hidden gem, great facilities, lake, picnic, boat rentals, etc. The hike is 7mi round trip from trailhead parking. You can park is lower lot and head towards campground….saves 1mi and trail runs right next to the lot. Nice views from the top.

hiking
6 months ago

Recently hiked this trail (7/29/17). It was beautiful, and we saw so many animals including a doe, a rabbit, lizards, vultures, etc. I recommend doing this hike early in the summer because of the heat and there is no shade once you reach the loop. The elevation gain is all at the beginning of the hike and the bulk of the trail is flat. Great views of Mt. Hood, Bachelor, and the Three Sisters, as well as the amazing green color of Lake Billy Chinook.

6 months ago

Really hot and long to do in July. Probably better in a cooler season.

trail running
7 months ago

I'll second Charyl's review. "Low Effort, High Reward."

7 months ago

Low Effort, High Reward.

7 months ago

Beautiful view of Lake Billy Chinook from the top. Great hike!

We did it as a family we all loved it and even had a picnic at the rim. We can't wait to do the trail again in the fall. Great views. Great family time.

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Just did some of this trail today. Absolutely amazing views. We didn't know Oregon had this to offer. We are no strangers to difficult "non-stroller friendly" trails but we hiked this one with our large wheeled stroller with our two year old... not recommended. It's a moderately difficult hike to begin with but with a stroller it was down right hard. So much so that we just had lunch at the top and returned. We hope to come back and finish once our kid is old enough to walk on his own. Our seven year old did fine. Lots of rocks... Wear good boots. Not for the faint of heart (steep dropoffs with 12" footing, no fall prevention) I'm not a runner but I'd say this is no running trail!

Once you get on top it looks pretty flat... still lots of rocks on the trail.

The campground is nice, has a nice off leash area for dogs! I wish Oregon Parks would be more friendly to "walk-in" campers. Who plans thier trips so far in advance to know which days to stay where? Kinda takes the fun out of it no?

hiking
Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Great views from the top. Deer and birds, trail in great shape. Nobody else on the trail over the Thanksgiving holiday.

hiking
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beautiful views!

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Great hike. Been a couple of years since I have done this hike. Awesome views at the top.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

Most of the hike was on top of the bluff. The vegetation was juniper & sage which covers most of central Oregon & so therefore pretty "ho-hum". One-and-a-half miles of the trail over look down into the gorge. This can cause a bit of vertigo, but worth the view...this is why it only gets two stars.

hiking
Monday, June 06, 2016

A great hike with spectacular views.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Great Hike!!!

hiking
Saturday, May 28, 2016

Awesome, great for a group of friends

hiking
Saturday, April 30, 2016

Awesome. Beautiful views, 1st mile is difficult the rest is very easy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Great.
Went in april barely any people beautiful views

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