Tam-A-Lau Trail (#856)

Tam a Lau trail
This trail is accessed at Cove Palisades State Park.
The Tam-a-láu Trail derives its name from a Native American phrase meaning “place of big rocks on the ground.” This also was the name of an ancient trail that passed through the area as part of a trade route to the Columbia River.
The trail starts out with a short, moderately steep climb to get to the top of a lava plateau called The Peninsula. Once you reach the top, it continues around most of the rim for about 4.3 miles, offering fantastic views of Lake Billy Chinook, the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers.
At the far end of The Peninsula, hikers can see across the water to an area called The Island. The Island was designated a natural national landmark and has been off limits to hikers since 1997 in order to protect its fragile native ecosystem.

Vegetation on The Peninsula consists mainly of open sage brush country with scattered western juniper. This hike can be very hot in summer and offers little shade. Rattle snakes also frequent the area.

Click here for a trail map.

Or go here to see a state park map and brochure.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Madras, Oregon
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center: Crooked River National Grassland
274 SW 4th Street
Madras, OR   97741 (541) 416-6640


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

This scenic trail offers some gorgeous views of Lake Billy Chinook as well as the Deschutes River and Crooked River.  Since it is moderate in length and mostly flat (aside from the initial uphill to the top of the butte) it is perfect for a relaxing and beautiful day hike.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.3 miles

  Elevation : 
1950 - 2650