Wandering Through Ancient Lakes

Ancient Lakes is a cluster of three small lakes nestled at the head of Potholes Coulee; a flat bottomed, cliff ringed valley.

Ancient Lakes

Recently I was watching a gear review video on YouTube. I don’t remember what they were reviewing but I remember where they were doing their review; Ancient Lakes. I had never seen or even heard about this area of Washington, and did some quick calling to my buddies. They weren’t familiar with the area either. That’s all it took for me to pull maps and start making plans to visit the area.

Ancient Lakes
Having hiked up to the saddle between coulees we were able to look down at Dusty Lakes.

Ancient Lakes is a cluster of three small lakes nestled at the head of a flat bottomed, cliff ringed valley called a coulee in these parts of Washington. The Ancient Lakes coulee is carved into the orchard-covered Quincy plateau and faces west, toward the Columbia River. This area is a great example of a recessional-cataract canyon. Potholes Coulee caught the attention of J Harlen Bretz in the early 20th century, which led to his “outrageous hypothesis” of Ice Age flooding; a very controversial theory during his time, but one that proved to be correct!

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Ancient Lakes is a cluster of three small lakes nestled at the head of Potholes Coulee; a flat bottomed, cliff ringed valley.

Steve Weileman
Ancient Lakes

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We’re having a very chill weekend in Vantage but decided to walk up to the State Park after dinner to stretch our legs when this happened. Lasted for about 10 minutes then was gone.⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

We’ve had to scale back our weekend plans, but last night’s sunset on the Columbia River Gorge. Our camp is on the left at the top of the cliffs. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Falls colors starting to show just below Barlow Pass on Elliot Creek. We had a very short window of clear weather this weekend to get out and explore.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

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Just published our latest adventure; "Searching for Walupt Creek Falls" You can find the link in my bio up top.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics #wastateparks ...

This use to be Lake Mills. Removal of the Glines Canyon Dam drained the lake back to its original state. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Got a late start, but took our RAD power bikes up pass the wash out on the old Elwha River road up to the spillway. Turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Looking across the Snoqualmie National Forest from above our basecamp on Bear Canyon.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Taking a break along South Prairie Creek recently. Excited to feel fall in the air. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Theresa enjoying the serenity to do a bit of reading on the banks of the Tilton River. We hiked into Bear Canyon to find this little gem. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

This weekend we camped on the rim of Bear Canyon. Here's an aerial shot from above our camp across rich farmland into the Snoqualmie National Forest.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

I can’t remember the last time we had rain, but we’re enjoying sitting in camp watching the clouds roll over the hills like waves.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

A misty morning on Skate Creek deep within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

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Whether we find any birds during our #COASST bird surveys or not, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest always makes the trips worthwhile. Another stunning weekend at the coast conducting citizen science. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnw #washington #washingtonstate #pacificnorthwest #pnwonderland #nature #optoutside #washingtonexplored #science #upperleftusa #olympicpeninsula #beach #cascadiaexplored #wildlife #explorewashington #YourShotPhotographer #conservation #pnwlife #washingtonweed #wacoast #washingtonstatefair #naturephotography #washingtonnationals #washingtontrails #wander #hiking #olympicnationalpark @washingtondiscovered #WildOlympics @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Potholes State Park

This year it’s hard to get short notice camping reservations as I’m sure everyone has noticed, but we did luck out and found a spot over at Potholes State Park which is only about a 45-minute drive from Ancient Lakes. We camped here once before when the temperatures had been a blistering 105 in the shade. Can’t say we enjoyed it much that time, but this time of year we had cold nights, and pleasant day temps this go-around and did enjoy the campsite.

We left early in the morning for Ancient Lakes and as we pulled in the parking lot it looked like we were going to have the place much to ourselves. However, before we could even gear up the parking lot started filling up with arrivals. There are so many trails that spider web off the parking area that we rarely saw but a handful of fellow hikers once on the trail.

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The only exception to this was the waterfall at the head of Ancient Lakes. This seemed to be the main attraction and it looked like a tour bus had ejected its payload at its base. As such we contented ourselves with the view from across the lake.

The real treat and view were when we decided to hike up to the south rim of the coulee. The topo map should have a saddle that would give us a view of the neighboring Dusty Lake. Not only did that prove to be the case but the views from the rim top back over Ancient Lake were spectacular.

We did get lucky with our timing. The desert flowers were in bloom, and there was an incredible number of birds in the area. And I’m happy to say that the one animal that I kept seeing a warning about — rattlesnakes, didn’t make an appearance at all. We’re already making plans for a return visit in the fall.

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