We finally got a much anticipated reservation for the Petroglyph tour at Columbia Hills State Park. They start early to beat the heat (9am is early for me when I have a couple hours' drive to get there--we were warned to include extra time for roadwork or other delays). Tours last up to 2 hours, and that left us time to explore more of Maryhill a little further east on Hwy 14.
Columbia Hills State Park
There are 4 roads off Hwy 14 in the Columbia Hills State Park, listed west to east:
1. Dalles Mtn Ranch--trails, historic buildings, vehicle, fantastic views of Mt Hood on the way back to Hwy 14
2. Columbia Hills Historical State Park/Horsethief Lake--picnic, camp, boat launch, petroglyphs, etc.
3. Horsethief Butte Trailhead--trail & rock climbing, interpretive sign, vault toilet
4. Crawford Oaks Trailhead--trails, sheltered picnic tables, vault toilet
Dalles Mtn Ranch
Hardly off Hwy 14 a sign announces 3 mi to get to Dalles Mountain Ranch, just as the road turns to dirt/gravel, winding washboards. I kept going and going up into the hills (losing sight of the river and Mt Hood), but when I finally got to a fork in the road, wasn't sure which way to go, and after choosing left (because to the right looked like someone's ranch), I saw another sign for another mile to get somewhere, and I decided it was time and opportunity to turn around. From the map I see if I'd gone a bit further on the right hand of the fork I would have come to the Dalles Mountain Ranch Trailhead. Apparently that ranch is historic, not a currently working one.
The excellent views of Mt Hood are breathtaking as you drive back down to Hwy 14.
Columbia Hills Historical State Park/Horsethief Lake
Family & group friendly place to spend the day(s). Rows of trees planted as windbreaks gives one clue about the area. While the day-use area has green well-watered great grassy areas, the golden hills interrupted by abrupt rocky outcrops give another clue about the climate. It can get very hot.
Further down the road from the picnic/campground is the parking for the petroglyphs. There are petroglyphs you can see right by the gravel parking, but if you want to join the ranger-guided tour to see the celebrated "She Who Watches", register ahead early. It's a hike, inaccessible to wheelchairs and perhaps a bit strenuous for those who don't hike regularly. The gravel parking is not wheelchair friendly--the large, rounded rocks are deeply spread. Beyond that parking area, across the RR tracks is a small almost unimproved boat launch (parking not allowed, drive back across the tracks to park). There are pay stations at all the parking areas. More than one ranger assured me that with a handicapped placard/plate there is no parking fee.
Horsethief Butte Trailhead
Crawford Oaks Trailhead
Views from Hwy 14 west of Columbia Hills Historical State Park
Maryhill Museum & State Park, and Stonehenge Replica & War Memorial
Maryhill Museum of Art--an eclectic collection of the arts and history
A walk east along/above the Columbia River at Maryhill Museum of Art
Views and interpretive signs, including info about the region, its history, Native Americans, & Lewis & Clark ... photos courtesy Juli Spruill.
Stonehenge Replica, War Memorial
"Stonehenge . . . the first monument in our nation to military personel who gace their lies in World War I. Memorializing 13 young Klickitat County men, it also serces as lasting reminder of the works of Samuel Hill, patron of this region. He established a townsite here, with post office, hotel, general store, nearly 10 miles of experimental paved roads, and the Maryhill Museum three miles to the west--all on his own land. His tomb is 50 yards distant, on the opposite side of this monument.
"The design duplicates in size and original form England's famous Stonehenge (dated 1900-1350 BC) on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When Hill, a Quaker pacifist, bisited England during the 1914-1918 conflict, saw Stonehenge and was told it had been used for human sacrifices to pagan gods, he remarked: "After all our civilization, the flower of humanity still is being sacrificed to the god of war on fields of battle." From that inspiration came this monument, built by Hill. On July 4, 1918 the altar stone was dedicated. The full structure was completed and dedicated May 30, 1929.
"Today the sacrifice legend is generally discredited. Current belief is that Stonehenge was a device used by stone-age astronomers to measure time and mark seasons of the year by observing positions of the sun and moon. The diagram at left suggests how the original may have been used by its ingenious builders."
Maryhill State Park WA--on the north side of the Columbia River, off Hwy 97
Day-use area has picnic tables & grills, water faucets, restrooms, group picnic shelters, swimming, boating, horseshoes, interpretive signs (including a brief bit about Lewis & Clark, and the Oregon Trail). Campground has group camp, group kitchen, restrooms/showers, water faucets, tent sites (including handicapped) & RV facilities. In season there are generally fruit stands in the area. Biggs OR (not big, basically a pit stop) is just over the river at the intersection of Hwy 97 and I-84, in case you need supplies, or, Goldendale WA is 15 mi north on Hwy 97. Photos courtesy Juli Spruill.
Westward Home--what great views of Mt Hood!
photos courtesy Juli Spruill
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.