The Cove Palisades State Park • 7300 SW Jordan Rd. • Culver, OR 97734
The Cove Palisades State Park has a brilliance no other area in Oregon can claim. Its steep, rock, plateaus launching into the refreshing and placid Lake Billy Chinook gives this park a dramatic feel that is hard to resist. Located in the heart of Central Oregon, on the spectacular Lake Billy Chinook.
Area geology was born approximately 10-12 million years ago, when alternating layers of stream sediments, volcanic debris and basaltic lava flowed from the Cascade Mountain Range into a huge basin in this area. Named the “Deschutes Formation,” these exposed layers of material were capped by lava flows from Cascade volcanoes three million years ago. Subsequent periods of dramatic water erosion and volcanic activity have formed the awe-inspiring canyons and vertical cliffs seen today.
Lake Billy Chinook is the confluence of three of Oregon’s great rivers: the Metolius, the Deschutes, and the Crooked River. Named “The Cove” by the original homesteaders, the word “Palisade” refers to the tall columnar basalt and rimrock formations majestically towering over the park.
Long before settlement of the west, Native Americans lived in this area. Dramatic evidence of this is etched into stone on the Crooked River Petroglyph. The Cove Palisades was once a place where Native Americans traveling along the river cold rest and visit with each other. One of these Native American’s was Billy Chinook, a local Wasco Indian who guided John C. Fremont, a famous pioneer, through the area in 1843. Oregon trail pioneers would also use this place as a rest stop on their journey to the Willamette Valley.
The current park consists of 4,403 acres, not including its original parcel lying 200 feet below the reservoir’s surface. A popular year-round destination for camping and water sports. The Cove Palisades offers 10 miles of hiking trails, abundant wildlife-viewing, fishing for salmon, bass and trout, swimming, water-skiing, kayaking and boating opportunities.
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