|• 12.4 mi. Hiking Trails||• Boating (freshwater)|
• Boating (freshwater, non-motorized)
• 2 boat ramps (freshwater)
• Fishing (freshwater)
• Swimming (freshwater)
|• 1 Amphitheater|
• Bird Watching
• 1 Horseshoe pit
• Interpretive Activities
• Rock Climbing
• Wildlife Viewing
Large shady, grassy lawns are suitable for croquet, soccer, etc. Visitors must bring their own equipment. No horseshoes are provided for the horseshoe pits.
The lake is usually open for fishing the last Saturday in April through October 31. Fishermen should consult regulations to be sure of the dates. A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
This is a fair location for beginning windsurfers who can get high-wind experience without the risks associated with river currents and barge traffic.
Horsethief Butte is a very popular rock-climbing location. Two areas are signed "no climbing" for cultural resource protection. NOTE: Climbers are directed to limit their use of chalk when climbing at the butte.
Be aware that park conditions are often extremely windy.
Some rattlesnakes live in the area, but they are fairly rare. The bullsnake is more common. Its color and markings are similar to a rattlesnake's, but they don't have rattles and they are not venomous.
Watch out for poison oak in the rock climbing areas of the butte. They appear as woody shrubs along the base of some rockwalls. When foliated they have glossy leaves in groups of three and little round white berries.
Spring is tick season. Ticks vary in color from brown to green. Be sure to check for ticks when hiking the guided tour or visiting undeveloped areas.
Archeological sites and artifacts are protected by both federal and state laws, and their disturbance and/or removal is illegal and carries severe penalties.
Free days at state parks
: Visit Washington state parks for free. The Discover Pass is not required to visit a state park on ten designated free days in 2013.
The 2013 State Parks free days are as follows:
Jan. 21 – In honor of Martin Luther King Day
March 30 – In honor of Washington State Parks' 100th birthday on March 19
April 27 and 28 – National Parks Week
June 1 – National Trails Day
June 8 and 9 – National Get Outdoors Day and Department of Fish and Wildlife Free Fishing weekend
Aug. 4 – Peak season free day
Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day
Nov. 9 through 11 – Veteran's Day weekend
Please note: A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during State Parks free days. For more information, please visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov
|Date/time||Event description||State Park|
|Fridays and Saturdays
April - Oct.
|Pictograph Tours: Columbia Hills State Park hosts guided pictograph tours. Reservations required for participation. Space is limited and tours fill rapidly. Call the park at (509) 767-1159 for reservations well in advance to secure a tour.
7 a.m. - noon
|Fishing Day Opener Boating Safety: Learn about boating safety as part of the opening day of fishing at Horsethief Lake in Columbia Hills State Park. Free boating inspections will be offered as well as presentations on boating knot roving.
||Columbia Hills, Horsethief Lake|
|May 2 - 5
||Painting in the Parks – Columbia Hills: Celebrate the centennial of Washington State Parks by painting in the parks. Take a journey through a state park and find artistic inspiration. Then spend the day creating a work in Washington’s great outdoors. From May 2 through 5, participants are welcome to paint at Maryhill, Columbia Hills and Beacon Rock state parks. Balsamroot and lupine line the gorge’s rocky hillsides in May. Artists may check-in with an event facilitator when they arrive. A full schedule of Painting in the Parks days is available at www.pleinairwashington.com. Presented by the Plein Air Washington Artists.
||Columbia Hills Trail Days – Wildflower Walks: Discover the bright blooms of native Columbia Gorge wildflowers during a guided walk through Dalles Mountain Ranch. Additional Columbia Hills Trail Days activities are scheduled for May 11 and 18. This event is part of Native Plant Appreciation Week.
||Columbia Hills, Dalles Mountain Ranch|
||Columbia Hills Trails Days – Geology of Horsethief Butte: Discover the history of the Ice Age Floods, a cataclysmic natural event that carved the landscape of the Columbia Gorge, during a guided geology walk at Horsethief Butte. This event is part of the Columbia Hills Trail Days series. The final series event is set for May 18.
||Columbia Hills, Horsethief Butte|
||Columbia Hills Trail Days – Historic Homestead Tour: Tour the historic homestead of Dalles Mountain Ranch at Columbia Hills State Park, with wildflowers adding color to the Columbia Gorge landscape. Space is limited due to tour wagon and trailer capacity. Reservations are required for participation. To make your reservation, call the park office at (509) 767-1159.
||Columbia Hills, Dalles Mountain Ranch|
Full list of events
at Washington State Parks
Watercraft launch reopens April 1.
The park has two boat ramps. Motorized boats are permitted on the lake, but the county has posted a speed limit of 5 m.p.h. for the entire lake.
A daily permit is available for watercraft launching and trailer dumping at the park for $5.
Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online
, and at parks when staff is available.
Picnic and Day-use Facilities
There are 35 unsheltered picnic tables located around the day-use area. Nine braziers are available. Facilities are first come, first served.