Cove Palisades

Lake Billy Chinook

  • Easy (to The Peninsula)
  • 3.6 miles round trip
  • 550 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year
  • Use: hikers only

  • Moderate (to Peninsula tip)
  • 7.2-mile loop
  • 640 feet elevation gain

The Peninsula, an eerie desert plateau, resembles a gigantic aircraft carrier moored in the midst of the vast Billy Chinook reservoir. From the Tam-a-lau Trail atop the mesa’s rim you can watch tiny ski boats from the Cove Palisades State Park cutting white V-shaped wakes into the sunny green waters far below. Tam-a-lau, a Sahaptin word meaning “place of big rocks on the ground,” hints at the unusual geologic formations along the path. Summer can bring intense heat to this canyonland, but if you start your hike in the morning, most of the climb is still in shade. Dogs are allowed on leash only.

To drive here, turn off Highway …

For the 3.6-mile loop along The Peninsula’s rim, however, …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.