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Oregon State Parks

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USA Parks
Central & Eastern Region
The Cove Palisades State Park
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Western Meadow Lark
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Culver, Oregon   97734
(lat:44.5429 lon:-121.2751) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
Toll Free: 800-551-6949
Reservations: 541-546-3412
The Cove Palisades State Park is a year-round recreational destination for the entire family. Located in our high desert region, the weather is sunny and warm in the summer months and chilly but generally mild in the winter. The park is situated among towering cliffs that surround beautiful Lake Billy Chinook.

The park features myriad water recreational opportunities, a full-service campground, store, restaurant, marina and rental services. Not interested in camping? Rustic lakeshore log cabins are available. Nature lovers will find nearly 10 miles of hiking trails that give access to areas rich in wildlife and splendid scenery.

The park is home to two popular special events: the Lake Billy Chinook Day in September (a clean-up and festival) and the annual Eagle Watch in February.

Learn about the unusual and unique attributes of this premier recreational and natural resource area ... at water level! Kayak tours are led weekly during the summer, and on select weekends at other times of the year.
History of the Area
Located in Jefferson County, Oregon, this natural wonder was established as a state park in 1949. It is nestled between the deep canyons formed by Lake Billy Chinook and covers an area of approximately 4,890 acres.

The land on which it stands has been inhabited for thousands of years with evidence suggesting that Native American tribes such as the Wasco and Warm Springs used to reside there before European settlers arrived. The name "Billy Chinook" comes from one member of these native communities who served as a guide during John C Fremont's expeditions across Central Oregon.

In its early days after establishment, visitors were drawn to its unique geological features including basalt cliffs created over centuries due to volcanic activity along with diverse flora and fauna found within its boundaries. Over time facilities like campgrounds were developed making it more accessible for tourists seeking outdoor recreational activities such fishing or boating on Lake Billy Chinook or hiking through various trails offering panoramic views of surrounding landscapes.

Today it continues being managed under the jurisdiction of Oregon Parks & Recreation Department attracting hundreds if not thousands each year thanks largely because preservation efforts ensuring future generations will be able enjoy all what makes this place special just like those have done so past decades since inception back late-40s.

Day-UseSwimming Beachyes
 Electric Sitesyes
 Water/Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
1. Crooked River Campground: This campground is open year-round and offers 91 electrical sites with water, three deluxe cabins (one pet-friendly), a group tent camping area, RV dump station, showers and flush toilets.

2. Deschutes Campground: Open from mid-May through September each year offering 82 full-hookup sites (some ADA accessible) as well as four standard campsites without hookups for tents only.

3. The Group Tent Area at the Lower Deschutes Day Use Area can accommodate up to 25 people per site in two separate areas that are available by reservation only between May-September.

4. Houseboat Moorage Slips: For those who prefer staying on the water rather than land-based accommodations there's an option of renting houseboats which come equipped with all necessary amenities including sleeping quarters & kitchen facilities etc., these boats also have mooring slips where they can be docked overnight or longer periods if desired.

5. The Cove Palisades State Park also has several yurts available for rent throughout the park providing another unique accommodation experience within this beautiful natural setting.

6. Two Tepees located near Lake Billy Chinook offer yet another alternative lodging choice; both tepees sleep eight comfortably but do not include any bedding so guests must bring their own along when choosing this particular type of stay-over arrangement.
1. The Cove Palisades State Park offers swimming in Lake Billy Chinook.
2. There are three main areas for swimming: Deschutes, Crooked River and Metolius.
3. Swimming is allowed anywhere along the shoreline unless otherwise posted.
4. No lifeguards are on duty; swim at your own risk.
5. Water shoes recommended due to rocky lake bottom conditions.
6. The water temperature varies depending upon time of year and depth of location within the reservoirs.
7. Swimming near boat ramps or docks isn't permitted for safety reasons.

The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. There are two full-service marinas available, one at each reservoir - Lake Billy Chinook and the Deschutes River. Both offer boat rentals including houseboats, ski boats, pontoon boats as well as paddle boards and kayaks. Boat moorage is also provided along with fueling stations on-site to accommodate personal watercrafts. For those interested in fishing or sightseeing tours around the lake area, guided services can be arranged through local operators.
Enjoy fishing in the clear waters of Lake Billy Chinook, home to bull trout and kokanee salmon. Other species include rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and brown bullhead catfish. Anglers can fish from boats or shoreline areas for a diverse angling experience.

The Cove Palisades State Park is located near Madras, Bend

The Cove Palisades State Park offers picnic areas with tables and grills, perfect for family outings or solo adventures.
For biking enthusiasts, the park offers a challenging 10-mile road with steep inclines and sharp turns. Be cautious.

Mountain bikers should be aware that off-road trails are not available within this location's boundaries.

Bicyclists must adhere to posted speed limits for safety reasons due to shared use of roads by pedestrians and vehicles.

Remember, helmets are mandatory in Oregon; ensure you have one before setting out on your ride here.

Always stay alert as wildlife encounters can occur unexpectedly during rides through these scenic routes.

It is important to bring plenty of water along since there aren't many refill stations throughout the route.

Lastly, always check weather conditions prior venturing out - sudden changes could make cycling hazardous.
1. Tam-a-lau Trail: This 7-mile loop trail offers stunning views of the Deschutes and Crooked River canyons, with a moderate difficulty level suitable for most hikers.

2. Upper Deschutes River Trail: A relatively easy hike along the river's edge that stretches about 4 miles round trip, offering beautiful water vistas and wildlife spotting opportunities.

3. Lower Crooked River Back Country Byway Hiking Trails: These trails offer various lengths from short to long hikes through diverse landscapes including sagebrush flats, rugged cliffs and juniper forests.

4. Rimrock Springs Wildlife Refuge Loop Trail: An approximately one mile nature walk perfect for bird watching or enjoying wildflowers in springtime; it is an accessible path ideal for families with young children or those seeking less strenuous activity.

5. Round Butte Overlook Park Trails: Offering panoramic views over Lake Billy Chinook these are shorter walks but provide excellent photo opportunities especially at sunrise/sunset times.

6. Crooked River Petroglyphs Interpretive Site Walk: Short interpretative walking route showcasing ancient petroglyphs carved into rocks by Native American tribes thousands of years ago.

7. Lower Metolius Preserve Nature Walk: Easy hiking option within Cove Palisades State park where you may spot deer grazing among Ponderosa pines.

8. Juniper Canyon Boat-in Campground Accessible only via boat this unique camping area has several small footpaths leading down to secluded beaches on shores of Lake Simtustus.

9. Desert Peaks Golf Course Walking Path: Although primarily designed as golf course there's also paved pathway around perimeter which makes pleasant stroll if looking something more leisurely than traditional hike.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 27 Family favorite by Divalgr
park review stars; one to five We love this park! All of our friends and family look forward to this each year. E-loop is the spot.
November 3 Was a camphost there by ajp
park review stars; one to five Could not even take it all in with 30 days there. The views were breath taking. Eagles crying and Turkey valtures and thousands of deer. We did not get out on to the lake but will if we get called back. A must see!!
June 26 AMAZING!!!
park review stars; one to five Our family has cammped here every summer for the past 20 years. There are about 30 of us so we get a group camp. It has gotten VERY hard to get one (group camp) any more, word has gotten out about how wonderful this park is.
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Nearby Hotels

1. Starting from Madras, head south on US:97 for about 7 miles.
2. Take a right onto SW Bear Drive and continue driving west for around 6 miles.
3. At the T:intersection with NE Clark Drive, turn left and follow it for another mile until you reach NW Pelton Dam Road.
4. Turn right onto NW Pelton Dam Road and drive north towards The Cove Palisades State Park entrance.

Once inside the park:
5a.If your destination is Crooked River Campground or Deschutes campground: Continue straight ahead after entering through the main gate following signs directing you to either campground area accordingly (Crooked River Campground will be closer).
5b.If your destination is The Marina/Boat Launch Area: After entering through the main gate take an immediate left at first intersection then proceed down hill toward marina parking lot.

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Oregon State Parks