As I mentioned in my last post, Exploring Eastern Washington, I would follow up with another exploration of the natural wonders of our state. It was only a couple weeks after our trip to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park we set out for a bit longer drive to visit another Washington State Park. This time Sun Lake / Dry Falls State Park near Coulee City and about two hours from our house.
As much of Eastern WA, this area was scoured by the Great Missoula Floods during the Ice Ages. I really can’t do this history justice, but considering the monumental impact these floods had on our region, I would strongly recommend you learn about it. Basically, the retreating ice sheets blocked the Clark Fork River in Montana and created Lake Missoula (think Lake Ontario size lake) and then when the ice damn eventually broke, well all hell broke loose as that water made its way to the Pacific Ocean. This actually occurred several times over hundreds of years; I think I read about 15 times.
Anyway, these floods were hundreds of feet deep and moved a lot of soil and rocks. This combined with all of the volcanic soil out here is why Washington grows the best damn red wine grapes in the world (not just my opinion). A plaque that I was reading as I looked over Dry Falls (you will easily recognize from the pictures below) stated that the river that flowed through where I was standing was 300 ft. over my head and contained 10X the flow of all the rivers on the planet combined. Now that was some whitewater. So rather than pretend to know all of the science I will just show you the pictures we took from the observations area. The lake pictures with all of the green space is Sun Lakes State Park, which was quite busy and lacking of social distancing, so we didn’t stick around there long.
Keep in mind this was the largest waterfalls in the world tens of thousands of years ago. Now looking down the coulee the other way…
Finally, a couple of pics from the picnic area where we had our lunch.
Sun Lake / Dry Falls State Park has something for everyone from water sports to educational sightseeing. We would have explored more in a non-pandemic time, but still was a worthwhile visit and the drive itself really shows you the impacts of the Floods and the volcanic history of the region.
I didn’t mention that just down from Sun Lakes is Lake Lenore, which is full of Lahontan Cutthroat trout that I need to experience.