Horsethief Lake, Columbia River Gorge

Summer is coming! Just over a month away. Now, I really do enjoy exploring the Pacific Northwest in the springtime because of the mild weather, even if it often does include rain. Nevertheless I am looking toward summer adventuring. This summer I want to go hike up around Horsethief Lake.

Horsethief Lake Park or Columbia Hills State Park is a Washington State Park, located across the Columbia River a few miles from the Dalles, I believe. I say, “I believe” because I have not been there yet.

I first learned about Horsethief Lake while browsing through travel books in the gift section at a New Seasons Market last spring. Unfortunately I don’t remember the title; sure wish I did. I seem to remember it described the location in the Gorge and the short moderate hike with decent views of the Columbia from Horsethief Butte. What caught my attention was its description of the lake and its swimming spot. I seriously like the idea of a warm summer hike if it has the option of cooling down at the end! From my investigation, I learned that there is also camping, Indian artwork (pictographs & petroglyphs) tours and risk of bullsnake and rattlesnake encounters at this Park.

Doing this hike has been something I’ve been thinking about and wanting to do for over a year. All of last summer I kept making tentative plans for my few summer days off from work. Here on this blog I really haven’t posted about future plans before. Even so I’m writing this post because I face a couple of challenges.

My big challenge is the distance. At almost two hours and 97 miles one way, it’s a bit of a drive. Is it worth it? I don’t know. If I’m going to drive that far, for a day hike or an overnight stay, I would like friends to come along. My smaller challenge is that sometimes, even with the gamest most enthusiastic friends, you have to sell the adventure, and I don’t feel that I have much with which to entice. Each source I find gives only a small amount of information. Is it not very popular or is it just not talked about a lot? Maybe it’s a hidden gem and worth a visit? I’m curious and hope to find out this coming summer.

What adventures are you planning for in the future? How are you addressing whatever challenges might be holding you back?

Horsethief Lake:


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