Apr 24, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Ancient Lakes
- Region: Eastern Washington -- Wenatchee
- Agency: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Avg Rating: 3.96
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
The hike in to the lakes is extremely easy, though dusty (it is a desert hike after all) and I was grateful that I started the hike so early as the cool breeze hinted at some hot weather later in the day. Once I reached the back of the coulee I hung a right around the front of the lake on the right and followed a trail up the canyon wall, which was somewhat strenuous, but by no means difficult. I reached the ledge and followed the base of the rib out for about a quarter mile to a saddle between the Ancient Lakes and Dusty lake coulees. By following the inside of the rib on the Dusty Lake side I was stunned by the immense basalt columns which are significantly taller and larger in that coulee than they are in Ancient Lake's. I followed the scant trail around the base of these columns and scrambled down the path (not for the faint of heart, this was a fairly steep trail down scree) and into the back of Dusty Lake.
I then followed the path to the North side of Dusty Lake and scrambled over the scree along the side of the lake to reach the West side of the lake. I followed some game/horse trails out into the coulee where I almost stepped on a rattlesnake sunning itself on the path (got lucky I looked down when I did!) and eventually found my way back onto the main Dusty Lake trail. Following the trail out and around the cliffs I joined back up with the Ancient Lakes trail and hiked out.
Following this route made for a 9 mile loop with some leg-working climbing half way through. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a little more adventure than simply hiking through the coulee looking at cliffs, and would rather see the coulee from the cliffs, or if you are wanting to see the basalt columns up close. I took some side trails up to the highest point along the cliffs at the back of the coulee to take some pictures, which added some distance, but was definitely worth the time.