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Spearfish Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking to the Columbia River from Spearfish Lake (bobcat)
Meadow of grass widows (Olsynium douglasii), Spearfish Lake (bobcat)
Gold stars (Crocidium multicaule), Spearfish Lake (bobcat)
The trails at Spearfish Lake Park (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Spearfish Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Spearfish Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
  • High point: 225 feet
  • Elevation gain: 45 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Sometimes
Snakes

Contents

Hike Description

Spearfish Lake is a natural scabland lake near Dallesport, Washington. The park here is run by the Army Corps of Engineers; the lake is deeper than it was historically due to water level rises influenced by construction of The Dalles Dam. The lake is a popular family fishing spot and is regularly stocked with rainbow trout. A loop trail leads around the park offering views of Mount Hood and encounters with scabland wildflowers. Meadowlarks stake their territorial claims here in the spring, and the lake hosts waterfowl such as coots, ring-billed ducks, and Canada geese. For hikers, this can be a spring season pit stop on the way to or from Horsethief Butte or the Dalles Mountain Ranch (See the Dalles Mountain Ranch Loop Hike and the Stacker Butte-Oak Spring Hike).

Spearfish was the name of a Native American village near here; the site is now inundated by Lake Celilo.

From the parking area, a gravel path leads up to a low rim between Little Spearfish Lake on the right and Spearfish Lake on the left. At a junction, go right across a low flat area blooming with grass widows, saxifrage and whitlow-grass in the spring. The path begins to parallel the railroad and heads east with great views of the Columbia. You can admire the layers of Columbia River Basalts on the Oregon side of the Gorge. Pass a clump of sumac and then go through an open gate on a grassier path. Right after the gate, a path leads across the tracks for river access - this is primarily used by fishermen. The main path ends at a sumac/locust grove above the tracks. It looks like you could walk farther east if you descend to the tracks to cross over the creek. You could also access the river here.

Turn back, getting great views of Mount Hood, and at the junction, keep straight and follow paths above the rim of Spearfish Lake. Other paths lead down to the water, but a narrow trail around the lake is submerged in a normal spring. The higher trail around the lake leads across a small sandy area; then drop and pass above a wooden pumphouse and cross an algae-blooming seep. Hike above a spring and then along blackberry-choked Threemile Creek. Cross the creek, which runs dry much of the year, and turn left on a track that veers toward the lake. Pass baby willows growing by the shore and head under rimrock through bitterbrush and past a lone ponderosa. Rise up a sandy slope under the rim and powerlines. Balsamroot and lupine bloom here in April. The trail reaches the top of the rim, heads across an excavated area and returns to the rim. From here, proceed down to the parking area.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - East #432S

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.