Labor Day has come and gone. The rabbitbrush is starting to fade. Geese are beginning to fly south, taking summer along with them. Crisp nights and cool mornings are a sure sign that fall is here. Is there anything to do at The Cove once the summer season is over? Most definitely! In fact, fall can be one of the most magical times here at the park. The cooler weather makes for a great time to hike the Tam-a-lau Trail.
You can access the trail from the Upper Deschutes Day Use Area and embark on a seven mile journey. The initial climb, an elevation gain of 600 feet in the first mile, is worth it when you reach the top and see the spectacular views of the park this trail affords. You are certain to see some of the most awe inspiring views of Lake Billy Chinook . It’s definitely worth lugging a camera and water with you!
Not a hiker? Being on the water provides a whole new perspective of the park, and the peace and quiet of this slower time of the year can really give you the opportunity to relax and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Bring a kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board and try paddling along the Deschutes or Crooked Rivers? Our all new non-motorized, water trail along the Crooked River will guide you on the best route for how far you want to go.
Prefer a little more information as you paddle along? Book a guided kayak tour of the Deschutes arm of the lake! Your guide will point out some of the geological features of The Cove and help look for wildlife as you go along. These tours are available Thursday and Saturday mornings in September and Saturday mornings in October. Call the park office for details and to reserve your space (541) 546-3412.
If you’d rather just to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the area; reserve a site at the Crooked River Campground, grab some extra blankets and wood, and enjoy the colors of fall as you watch the sun set over Mount Jefferson. If you’re up for a short walk, you can take the Crooked River Wetlands Nature Trail, accessed from the boat and trailer parking area, which provides views of the first two ponds in our wetlands. As you walk this easy quarter mile loop, you can see the bluebird house and bat boxes built by Culver students, as well as the Certified Monarch Way Station the middle schoolers planted last school year. You never know what kind of wildlife you might encounter along the way.
As summer leaves, the busyness settles down, and fall colors peek out around the park, so does the wildlife. This is a great time of year to see some of The Cove’s residents who prefer a bit less human interaction. Deer are more active as they prepare to rut, ducks are pairing up and coyotes have been howling. In fact, just about any trail or dock you wander along could afford you that opportunity. Maybe take a stroll along the water and see if the river otters are out playing. Or just find a nice, quiet, pretty spot to sit and relax and see what wanders along.
Don’t think that just because summer is over there’s nothing to do or see here at The Cove. Come on out and take a look. You just might surprise yourself.