Columbia Hills State Park
Mar 02, 2013
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve
- Region: South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge
- Agency: Washington State Department of Natural Resources
- Avg Rating: 3.75
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
Columbia Hills State Park is a wonderful place to roam across acres of rolling grasslands, rimrock, draws and canyons. Unlike the Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve on Stacker Butte, hikers are not restricted to roads on the state park lands.
The Columbia Hills SP map is online here http://www.parks.wa.gov/par[…]ia%20Hills&subject=maps Be sure to know where you are and stay on state park lands; avoid straying onto adjacent private lands.
Despite hiking there for years, we continue to find new places to explore. This time we started at the site of the future Crawford Oaks trailhead (Discover Pass required) and hiked up Eightmile Canyon, then east across the hills to the east park boundary and returned via the benches above SR 14.
We saw pin flags and survey posts marking a proposed mountain bike-equestrian trail. I worry that introducing mountain bikers and their dogs will put a lot of disturbance pressure on the deer herds that use the park lands. We also are concerned that the new trails do not result in mountain bikers and equestrians straying into and damaging the wonderful wildflower glades that have recovered from a century of livestock grazing or affect ground-nesting birds like meadowlarks and horned larks.
If you are feeling adventuresome, explore the Columbia Hills.