Located in southern Washington along the Columbia River, Columbia Hills State Park boasts beautiful rock formations and a long river shoreline. The park has 3,338 acres of Washington wilderness and has a rich Native American history. The park features unique rock formations, including Horsethief Butte, and a large freshwater lake. This park is quite popular due to its beautiful scenery and wealth of outdoor activities available.
Visitors to Columbia Hills State Park can enjoy 12.4 miles of hiking trails suitable for all ability levels. Visitors can also view some of the many wildlife native to the area, including bobcats, foxes, deer and elk. Bird watching is also a popular activity here; enthusiasts may catch glimpses of woodpeckers, eagles, doves, chukars, ospreys, and more. There is also rock climbing available in certain areas in the park; ask at the ranger’s station which areas are off-limits before climbing. Additionally, visitors can swim, boat, and fish in Horsethief Lake, which has two boat ramps. Finally, the park has several picnic spots and toilets for visitor’s day use. The park also has several large, grassy areas for visitors to play and relax in, and they have one horseshoe pit as well.
For outdoor enthusiasts who would like to stay overnight at the park, there are a few campsites available. There are 18 camp sites, including 8 with utility hook-ups. The remaining campsites are more primitive. Reservations are recommended for camping, and there is a fee per night. The park has a 10 day limit for campsites. There is one restroom shared between all the campsites.
Columbia Hills State Park’s most unique feature is its rich Native American history. The area around Horsethief Lake was formerly a thriving Native American village. In fact, Lewis and Clark stayed in this village with Indians during their famous journey across the United States. Today, the location is a National Historic Site, and the Indian art is preserved and protected by the state and federal governments. Park guides offer tours of the rare and beautiful Indian rock art found in caves and on rocks around Horsethief Lake. These tours are fascinating and are also very popular; visitors should make a reservation ahead of time in order to hold a place on one of these tours.
Because of its wealth of outdoor activities and Native American heritage, Columbia Hills State Park is a must-see destination on any visit to Washington State. The park is open from sunrise to sunset each day during the spring, summer, and fall months. The park closes around November 1st each year and re-opens around March 31st the following spring. To learn more about the park, visit their website at http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Columbia Hills. The park’s physical location is at:
Milepost 85 State Route 14
Dallesport, WA 98617