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Lake Creek

Eastern Washington > Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
47.3344, -118.7010 Map & Directions
26.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
340 feet
Highest Point
1,840 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Lakes
  • Established campsites
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Explore one of the few true backcountry experiences in Eastern Washington’s channeled scablands among buttes and mesas carved by ice age floods. Continue reading

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Hiking Lake Creek

Explore one of the few true backcountry experiences in Eastern Washington’s channeled scablands among buttes and mesas carved by ice age floods.

You don't commonly think of glaciers when you think of Washington's scabland country, but it was glaciers that were responsible for the flooding that sculpted this unique landscape, carving and gouging the volcanic bedrock into a maze of buttes, mesas and coulees. Here, the 13-mile Odessa–Lake Creek Trail provides the best backcountry experience in this unique landscape.

From the southern trailhead, follow the signed singletrack as it dips over and around hunks of pockmarked basalt. On sunny days, begin hiking early in the morning; the scant shade these boulders provide is all you'll get. At 0.4 mile, turn left on a powerline right-of-way. Shallow rocky soils showcase sagebrush buttercup and desert-parsley in spring, and bitterroots daub the otherwise drab ground with pink in early summer.

At 1.2 miles, pass through a gated fenceline, and at 2.2 miles intersect a second fenceline; turn right to parallel the fenceline uphill. The track gently rolls onward, passing through more gates at 2.9 and 4.2 miles. At just over 5 miles, spy the fluted basalt buttes known as Odessa Towers. Continue to the edge of Lake Creek Coulee, picking your way down through basalt and spiny hopsage, watching for rattlesnakes.

At 6.1 miles, cross the dried-out Bobs Lakes drainage, and work your way up the more dramatic west side of the coulee. Top out and intersect a two-track dirt road and turn north, passing through a gate near rusting farm equipment. The route jogs east then north; a side route leads to Waukesha Spring on private land. At 10.6 miles turn right on an old roadbed. The route winds between shallow duck-filled ponds before reaching the back forty of Lakeview Ranch—now a BLM property—at mile 13.

Hike Description Written by
Aaron Thiesen, WTA Correspondent

Lake Creek

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.3344, -118.7010 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Southern trailhead: In Odessa, drive north on SR 21 following signs to the Odessa–Lake Creek Trail. At 0.1 mile, turn left at the Cenex station onto the gravel road. Drive west 0.3 mile to the trailhead at road’s end. Northern trailhead: In Odessa, drive north 2.8 miles on SR 21 to Lakeview Ranch Road. Turn left (west) and drive 5.1 miles on good gravel to Lakeview Ranch. Turn left into the ranch property and park behind the shop buildings.

More Hike Details


Eastern Washington > Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene

Bureau of Land Management

Guidebooks & Maps

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

On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods (Bruce Bjornstad - Keokee Books)

Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Moses Lake

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Lake Creek

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