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.
- 26.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 340 feet
- Highest Point
- 1840 feet
Hiking Lake Creek
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.3344, -118.7010 Open in Google Maps