Petroglyphs Tour & Dancing Rock Walk

Saturday, April 1, 2023

9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Join Friends for two easy hikes in the eastern Columbia Gorge. Difficulty level: Easy: 3 miles | 300-ft elev. gain

Before you register, please:

  • Read our digital Liability Waiver here. You will be asked to check a box acknowledging you read waiver during registration.

Outing Description

Get ready for an eastern Gorge filled day by visiting Horsethief Lake Historical State Park where retired Washington State Park tour guide Chon Clayton will guide you to view and learn about the ancient petroglyphs and rock images, including Tsagaglalal, "She Who Watches”. After the morning tour, the outing will move to nearby Dancing Rock Preserve. This Friends preserve is not open to the public, so this is an exclusive opportunity to view traces of ice age floods, panoramic views of the eastern Gorge, and enjoy the wildflowers in bloom.

What can you expect on this guided outing: This outing will appeal to those who prefer an easy, slow-paced, low intensity walk with minimal elevation gain. If you have an interest in history, geology, and wildflowers, this outing is for you. The eastern Gorge is very exposed to sunlight, be prepared for hot temperatures.


  • Rattlesnakes live in the area, but they are fairly rare. The bullsnake is more common. Its color and markings are similar to a rattlesnake’s, but they don’t have rattles and they are not venomous.
  • Portions of the Dancing Rock trail are rocky, semi-rugged, and steep in sections, hiking poles are recommended.
  • Be aware that Horsethief Lake and Dancing rock are often extremely windy.

What to Bring:

  • Lunch, snacks, and plenty of water (1 liter for every two hours)
  • 10+ Essentials in backpack
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Hiking poles (if you have them, they will be very helpful when navigating the Dancing Rock's rocky terrain.)
  • A photo/copy of your vaccination card if proof not sent via email

What to Wear:

  • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes, sneakers, or boots.
  • Long durable pants to protect from poison oak
  • Dress for weather: extra layers of clothing for protection against wet or cold weather. Be ready to shed layers in hot temperatures.


  • 9:00 a.m. - Meet at the Horsethief Lake
  • 3:00 p.m. - Outing concludes

Fee: Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

  • Automated pay station: This park is equipped with an automated pay station at Horsethief Butte for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass and boat launch permit.

Restrooms: Nearest restroom located at Horsethief Lake.

Managed By: Washington State Parks: Horsethief Lake, Friends of the Columbia Gorge: Dancing Rock Preserve.

What to expect at a Friends guided outing: Expect a supportive and welcoming space where experienced hike leaders and shepherds guide you throughout Gorge outdoor spaces. Friends outings provide the opportunity to explore the Columbia Gorge, build community, and learn how Friends is the only conservation organization entirely dedicated to protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Gorge.

A confirmation email with outing details will be sent out 3-5 days before the event.

Questions? Please contact Melissa Gonzalez at or 971-634-1265.

Photo: Nick Wiltgen