In between the snow storms of 2016/2017, Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Oregon Youth Challenge Corp. put in a new trail that park officials have been planning for several years. This season, there are two new trails at The Cove. Both are located on the Crooked River side of the park; enjoy breathtaking scenic beauty or spot wildlife as it flies or scurries by. Just a short walk from the Crooked River Campground or visitors may park in the boat trailer lot, behind the campground check-in booth (please remember the $5 day-use permit is required if you are not camping at the park).
Wetlands Trail – Visitors can take a leisurely, flat, quarter mile loop trail around the man-made ponds that clean up runoff before spilling into Lake Billy Chinook.
All new signage will explain the fire restoration progress that’s occurring after our 2015 wildfire in the park, you’ll see a bat apartment building that was built by Culver High School and Elementary School in 2015 that houses up to 1,200 bats, and you’ll also see a work in progress as Culver Middle School plants a certified showy milkweed garden, called the Milky Way, to attract migrating Monarch Butterflies.
This area is rich in vegetation; as well as aquatic, aerial and terrestrial wildlife. Look for Turkey Vultures, Hawks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mule Deer, Rabbit, Dragonflies, Western Fence Lizards and more!
The Overlook Trail – For those looking for a little more of workout, start on the trail just to the left of the paddle wheel, on the north side of the Crooked River Campground Check-in booth. You will climb up a mile long, rocky trail, to Overlook #1 off Mountain View Road. Those willing to make the trek will be rewarded with breath taking views of Lake Billy Chinook – the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers, The Island – a National Landmark, Round Butte, The Sisters mountain range, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood and the surrounding areas. In the spring you will see tons of wildflowers as red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soar overhead.
(Safety Notes: Bring water and wear sturdy shoes; may not be suitable for visitors with mobility or breathing issues.)
Check park programs for scheduled Junior Ranger program hikes, geologic tours, full moon night hikes and more!