HorseThief Butte, WA – 1.5hrs from Downtown Portland

This location is our go-to location for first-time units. It has great access to the top, plenty of room, and lots of different routes from Class 4 scrambles up to about 5.10. There is a Mountain Project page with some information and directions.

This location can be done as a day trip, but is usually done with an overnight camping stay.

Camping Near HorseThief Butte

  • Maryhill State Park, WA. The group site here is fantastic for a family camp or just a big group. It has flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and a big pavilion with running water and electricity. MUST reserve this one 6 months in advance, as it is very popular.  Cost is a bit high at ~$150 for the group site. It is easier to get in if you don’t use the group site, but still challenging.
  • Columbia Hills Historical State Park, WA. This one is right next door to HorseThief, so very convenient. It is primarily a day-use park, but does have some tent camping. No group site, though.  
  • Deschutes River State Recreation Area Campground. This campground on the OR side has group camping in several big fields near the river. It is a good location for larger groups with trailers, but you will be mixed in with many other groups. Can be very busy in high season, and can be loud because of the open arrangements. However, being right next to the river does have its advantages after a hot day climbing.
  • Memaloose State Park, OR.  This is a strange campground, as it is only accessible from west-bound I84. When arriving from Portland, you have to go past it, then double back. Similarly, when departing for HorseThief, you have to go West, then double back to go East. Not my favorite campground, but it will work. 

Broughton’s Bluff, OR – Troutdale

Broughton’s Bluff is a good day trip for very small groups. There are only a few routes for top rope climbing, and they are widely known in the area, so often highly utilized by REI, Mazamas, and other intro climbing groups. Recommended only for groups of 6 or fewer in the whole group.  Mountain Project: Broughton’s Bluff

Recommended Routes: Giant’s steps and other routes nearby, all in the hanging gardens area.

Broughton Bluff, just outside of Troutdale

Rocky Butte, Portland OR – near the PDX airport

As it is right here in Portland, Rocky Butte is very convenient. There are a variety of routs here, with several good routes right across from the Church’s parking lot. There is also a 120+ft rappel that can be set up very easily. The downside of this venue is that the site will need extensive cleanup before Scouts can use it. Also, the bottom of the wall is so noisy from the highway that it is difficult to communicate with the top of the route. This is definitely a viable climbing option that we have used many times, but units need to be aware of the challenges.  Mountain Project: Rocky Butte

Madrone Wall, Clackamas County

The Madrone Wall was officially opened on October 21st, 2017 after a 20 year battle to convince the county to turn the area into a park instead of a quarry. Much thanks to the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee for all their hard work! This site is often closed in the Spring from ~March – July, as it is a mating area for protected falcon species. Mountain project: Madrone Wall