A Visit to Ancient Lakes in the Washington Desert

The agricultural-heavy desert of the Yakima River Valley is another area that would surprise some people as being part of its respective state, especially the famously rainy, lush state of Washington.

Found in the Quincy area, not far from the Gorge Ampitheatre, is the Ancient Lakes hike. A popular backpackers’ spot, it is also a pretty day hike that takes you through the Potholes Coulee, formed when water from the Quincy Basin drained into the Columbia River Gorge. A familiar scene from last year, we got to take one of the gorgeous Columbia River crossings on our way here.

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The trail is just under 5 miles and can be completed as an out and back, or somewhat of a loop. It really helped us to use the Alltrails smartphone app, as we could track our progress against what others had done, since there are a few options to take out on the trails (and there was some cell reception out here).

Passing through the walls of the coulee, the trail circles three steely blue lakes that look beautiful contrasted against the arid landscape. The final lake is accented by a plunging waterfall that we made our way over some tricky terrain and boulder fields “off trail” to get a closer look at. Definitely a nice way to get a feel for the lesser-known Washington state!

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2 thoughts on “A Visit to Ancient Lakes in the Washington Desert

  1. More great photos as your adventures continue. Thanks for sharing. I have only commented once before, but I enjoy your photos and stories.

    Liked by 3 people

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