Located at the site of one of many camps used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the 1,312-acre Crow Butte State Park sits along a lonesome stretch of highway halfway between the little towns of Roosevelt and Paterson. It offers boating, swimming, fishing, and waterskiing, with tent ($19) and RV sites ($24) and coin-operated showers.
The campground is open daily late March to late October, plus winter weekends. Make reservations ($7 extra) at 888/226-7688 or www.parks.wa.gov .
Crow Butte State Park covers half of an island created when the John Day Dam  backed up the river to form Lake Umatilla; the other half is within Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge (509/546-8300, www.fws.gov/umatilla ), which straddles both sides of the Columbia.
A 0.75-mile trail leads to the top of Crow Butte (671 feet), with views across the Columbia to Mt. Hood when the weather permits; keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes. The Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge has an overlook a few miles east of Crow Butte State Park where you can peer across the river below while browsing a brochure describing the refuge and its abundant waterfowl.