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Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area

Columbia Hills Historical State Park

Columbia River Gorge, Washington

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Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area

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  • Trailhead for the Horsethief Butte Hike.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Horsethief Butte Hiking Trail.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Unidentified flower species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Unidentified flower species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Unidentified flower species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View west from Horsethief Butte to Horsethief Lake and Mount Hood (11,249 ft).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View west from Horsethief Butte to Mount Hood (11,249 ft).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View southeast from Horsethief Butte to the Columbia River Gorge.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View southeast from Horsethief Butte to the Columbia River Gorge.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Gray rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa).- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View back west from Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Rock climbers at Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Rock climbers at Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Rock climbers at Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View east from atop Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • View of the Columbia River from Horsethief Butte.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • Washington Highway 14 from the Horsethief Butte Hike.- Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
  • - Horsethief Butte Hike + Rock Climbing Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Numerous entry-level rock climbing crags. Panoramic views of Columbia River.
Cons: 
Sun exposure in summer. Rattlesnakes common.
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Region:
Columbia River Gorge, WA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
120.00 ft (36.58 m)
Parking Pass: 
Washington Discovery Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
350.00 ft (106.68 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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Rising 500 feet above the Columbia River, Horsethief Butte is a 1,100 by 600 foot basalt fortress within Columbia Hills Historical State Park, and this short hike provides an excellent tour of this interesting formation. Renowned for its countless beginner-friendly rock climbing routes, the crag also hosts Native American petroglyphs and picturesque yellow grasslands that turn purple and yellow every April with the blossoming of lupine, cushion fleabane, and balsamroot.

From the trailhead off of Washington Highway 14, a network of trails weave around and through the basalt outcropping. Here you'll be able to explore Wanapum basalt that was formed an estimated 15 million years ago and scoured clean by the relentless pounding of the Missoula Floods.

As a climbing spot, Horsethief Butte is well-known for being a sunny oasis when compared to more western crags. There are a variety of bouldering and top-rope routes that are ideal for beginning climbers, with the majority of routes measuring only 20 to 45 feet in height. Bolts are not permitted, so if you are climbing be sure to bring a full trad rack and slings for top-rope anchors. A huge sling or static rope is also recommended for anchors, as the rock quality for anchor building is poor at best.

Note: Rattlesnakes and poison oak are common in Columbia Hills Historical State Park and around Horsethief Butte, so use caution.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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