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Goose Lake Plateau

Central Washington


Central Washington -- Potholes Region
View map below


7.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 200 ft.
Highest Point: 1000 ft.


3.50 out of 5

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This wide-open grassland offers roaming, but route-finding is necessary to enjoy your time on trail here.

From the trailhead, walk west. Eventually, a worn foot path emerges, ascending the plateau ramparts sometimes steeply. In short order, reach the top of the mesa. An expansive grassland interspersed with bluffs beckons exploration.

The trail tread soon disappears into the blue- and cheatgrass but as long as one has long pants or ankle gaiters, fear not. Make mental notes of the basalt bluffs while heading across the wide grassland in a southwesterly direction, intersecting two of the bluffs.

Upon crossing the plateau, the route enters a narrow canyon area. Hike a half mile before reaching a broad open junction with gullies heading off in four directions.

If Upper Goose lake is your destination, follow the old jeep road heading north (right); at 2.5 miles from the trailhead you will reach the lake. Alternately, go south at the junction and veer west (right) on another old jeep track. In one mile, you will reach Lower Goose Lake.


Goose Lake Plateau

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.9307, -119.2432 Open map in new window


Central Washington -- Potholes Region

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia Basin Wildlife Area

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Best Desert Hikes: Washington (Bauer & Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Priest Rapids

Getting There

From Moses Lake, drive southeast on Highway 17 for two miles to the village of McDonald and turn right (south) on to Road M SE. Drive Road M for 6.5 miles to Highway 262, turn right (west) on to 262 and drive for 2.6 miles before turning left on to the road, which enters Columbia National Wildlife Refuge just across from the large boat launch area.

Drive into the refuge, and after 2.2 miles, turn right. 0.8 mile farther in, reach a junction just past the Crab Creek Trailhead, keep left on the main road. In another mile, reach the Frog Lake/Marsh Lake trailhead with parking on the west side of the road.


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Goose Lake Plateau

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