Columbia Hills State Park shows off its pictographs and scenic grandeur with 'Trail Daze' event.

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A lesser-visited scenic and cultural treasure of the Washington State Parks system hosts special events this weekend in the Columbia River Gorge. Weather forecast: sunny and the 70s.

The Saturday, May 2, event is Columbia Hills Trail Daze (sic) at Columbia Hills State Park, 3,338 acres on the Washington shore just across the Columbia River from The Dalles, Ore.

The park is known for its well-preserved petroglyphs and pictographs, sweeping hillsides of golden balsamroot and blue lupine on Dalles Mountain, and hikes with stunning views of the Columbia Gorge.

Saturday activities begin at 10 a.m. Here’s a roundup:

Horsethief Lake, pictograph tours, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Take a tour of the ancient pictographs and petroglyphs drawn and carved into the rocks by early Native Americans. Discover one of the best examples of a North American pictograph — the iconic “Tsagaglalal” (She Who Watches). Space is limited, so visitors are encouraged to reserve space by calling 509-439-9032.

Horsethief Butte, roving Ice Age Floods interpretive talk, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ryan Karlson, Interpretive Services program manager for Washington State Parks, will describe how the Columbia Gorge was scoured by 1,000-foot-deep floods, with the initial surge wall rushing through the gorge at speeds of 60 mph.

Dalles Mountain Ranch, WSU Native Plant Research talk and hikes, 10:30 am. and 12:30 p.m.

Join Professor Steve Van Vleet from Washington State University for a hike and discussion about his research permit using livestock to restore native plant populations at Dalles Mountain Ranch.

Dalles Mountain Ranch, guided native-plant hike, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Botanists from the Washington Department of Natural Resources will serve as guides for some native plant exploration. The hike will start from the new trailhead, which is located just past the ranch building complex.

Dalles Mountain Ranch, horseback ride, 10 a.m.

Join members of the Mount Adams Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington at the ranch trailhead for a ride on the new 6-mile trail system that connects Crawford Oaks and the ranch. Horse riders should assemble early (9 to 9:30 a.m.) to offload and saddle up.  The trail is also open to mountain bikes.

Other activities

Also: a field lesson in stream health at Eightmile Creek and a solar telescope viewing of the sun led by staff from Goldendale Observatory State Park.

For more information, contact park staff at, the park system’s Goldendale area office at 509-773-3145, or the Columbia Hills State Park office at 509-767-1159.

More about the park in this Seattle Times story.