A Trail of Tremendous Treasure

Have you visited the amazing, spectacular, outstanding Tam-a-Lau trail yet?

She’s a doozy, but she’s worth it! In the first mile, you’ll gain 600 feet of elevation, so be prepared with plenty of water, good hiking shoes, and an early start. (Early morning is one of the best times to take photos as well!)

Winding up the cliff side on this path will take you through a spectacular boulder field. “Tam-a-Lau” means “place of big rocks in the ground” in the Sahaptian language of the Plateau tribes, and references this area. It’s tempting to climb on these enormous rocks, but it better protects them (and you, from rattlesnakes, black widows, and scorpions!) if you don’t.

Tam trail

Once atop the canyon rim, you’ll get an unbelievable view of the surrounding area. You’ll see the southern end of The Island, a protected area of the Cove Palisades a special gem of Oregon, and on a good viewing day you’ll get breathtaking views of Jefferson and Hood!

Island Tam

If you’re lucky, or you time it right, you’ll also get a beautiful wildflower show. This lovely yellow bush is rabbitbrush in bloom. (That’s Mt. Jefferson in the background.)

jefferson rabbitbrush

There may also be some close encounters with lizards, eagles, or wild Turkey Vultures, one of the coolest birds on planet Earth! They love sitting on the electric poles or soaring lazily on the columns of warm air rising up from the cliffs.



If you make it to the top, why not do the whole loop? You’ll be rewarded with unbelievable views of the Island, lake, and canyon. If you really flex your powers of observation, you may even spot mysterious leftovers from homesteaders, like huge rock piles and weirdly-pruned junipers!

Tam rock pile

weird tree

Sunset Storm Clouds

Hello Cove fans! Ranger Nicole here. Get ready for some fun posts this amazing month of August! For now, I will tide you over with some amazing photos of the eastern canyon wall before and during an amazing little thunderstorm that passed through. (Do I lose points for using the word “amazing” too many times? Sorry, can’t help it – look where I work!)



Check out that amazing columnar basalt. The patterns are beautiful!



This storm rolled in right as the Atlatl/spear-throwing program was winding down alongside sunset. Sadly we didn’t get much rain (it’s been a HOT summer!) but there was a great lightning show for our visitors after they’d finished throwing spears!