The 4,400-acre Cove Palisades State Park reminded us what the Grand Canyon might look like if it was flooded. The park lies on rocky, steep plateaus that are surrounded by Lake Billy Chinook, created in 1964 when the Round Butte Dam was completed. In this photo you can see a boat riding across the beautiful, shimmering waters of Lake Billy Chinook.
The Round Butte Hydroelectric Dam generates 800,000 megawatts of electricity per year for the Portland metropolitan area. PGE operated the dam until 1999 when it agreed to co-manage the dam with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Here we see a waterfall plunging over a plateau near the park entrance.
The dam impeded the flow of the Crooked, Deschutes and Metolius Rivers. When the dam was first built, engineers estimated it would take about a year for the reservoir to fill. But heavy rain and snowmelt in 1964 filled the reservoir in just one week.
Our dog Shadow loves to roll around in the grass.
Lake Billy Chinook was named after a well-known Wasco Indian scout from the Warm Springs Tribe. Chinook rose to fame when he travelled with explorer John Fremont, who led expeditions in the 1840s on the Oregon Trail and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fremont was the first white explorer to discover Lake Tahoe.
Lake Billy Chinook covers 4,000 acres and has 72 miles of shoreline. It’s deepest point is 400 feet at Round Butte Dam. The reservoir is kept full all summer. This photo shows Shadow standing on the edge of the plateau looking down over Lake Billy Chinook. Our dogs have no fear of heights!
Behind me in this photo is the 200-acre plateau known as “The Island.” It’s technically a peninsula, but it’s called an island because the plateau is isolated from the rest of the park by its tall, sheer cliffs. The area was designated a Research Natural Area in 1986 and closed to public access because it supports “one of the last relatively pristine remnants of pre-settlement ecology in the western United States.” It’s also an important habitat for eagles and hawks.
A pretty suspension bridge spans the Crooked River. It’s the only route into the park from the east.
A large pumpkin farm was on the plateau across the river. We watched as workers harvested the pumpkins.
The Crooked River Petroglyphs are apparently a collection of supernatural figures carved 500 to 800 years ago.
Here is a panorama of the Crooked River and The Island on the left. Click the image for a larger version.