The first time I drove through the Columbia River gorge and saw the horses, I thought they were real!
From far away they do look real. But once you climb the hill and see them up close you come to appreciate the artwork even more. Up close they look very stylized. I’m impressed by how different the sculpture looks from far away vs. when you’re standing right next to it.
This is a very short hike (about half a mile) that you can take as a part of your rest area stop once you cross the Columbia River, going East. My husband Dave and I were driving over to Idaho and stopped here for a bit. I figured that since we stopped, we could as well go up and see the horses. Also, since it’s technically a hike, I decided I should Strava it. Why not?
The official name of the Wild Horses Monument is Grandfather Cut Loose the Ponies. At first glance you could say that is a terrible name. Why would grandfather do that? Is he senile? And if he cut them loose, were they not wild before? So, instead of the Wild Horses Monument should we call it Domesticated Horses Cut Loose Monument?
Ah, but wait! I’ve looked into this sculpture and its name. The “Grandfather” in this title is actually the Great Spirit and the monument was designed by a Chewelah sculptor, David Govedare. It was installed in 1989 and was suppose to be a lot bigger, with a giant basket tipped over from which the horses were let loose. Apparently the project ran out of money and the basket was never constructed. Which is for the best, I think. It looks better as is.
The hike to the top is not very strenuous nor very long, but I was wearing my regular city shoes that were pretty much destroyed in the process. Be advised to wear proper footwear when hiking. Even for short stretches!
The view from the top is incredible. Sure, there is the highway, but the Columbia river is breathtaking and the desert all around it is gorgeous as well. I really am in love with this landscape. According to ecologists this isn’t officially a real desert, but who wants to call it semi-arid steppe instead?
0.5 miles, 156 ft of elevation.
YTD Hiking Miles: 47.5