More Than A Roadside Attraction: Dry Falls, Washington

Dry Falls Washington

Dry Falls measures in at three and a half miles long across its face. This now impressive desert-like scenic site was the site of a huge waterfall at the end of the last ice age. Water rushed down the Upper Grand Coulee, where man made Banks Lake sits now, and poured over this 400 foot tall waterfall. This must’ve been a staggering sight to see. Scientific estimates put the size of the falls at roughly five times the width of Niagara Falls. The water flowing over it is estimated to have been ten times the flow of all the current rivers in the whole world combined.

Today, Dry Falls is part of Washington State Parks and is located just south of the southern end of Banks Lake, right on Highway 17 in a section of roadway called the Coulee Corridor. This corridor is an excellent road trip destination too with other nearby sights being Soap Lake, Moses Coulee, Lake Lenore Caves, and of course Grand Coulee Dam.

Dry Falls Washington

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park features a popular visitor center and scenic overlook right off the highway, a campground area down below that includes thousands of feet of shoreline on several small lakes, and lots of trails and roads that head back into the Dry Falls area where you can explore and view this impressive sight from down within it. The state park features camping, a swim area, plenty of open space, and some great scenery. Sun Lakes Resort, a privately run establishment, is also there and you can find a small grocery store, restaurant, miniature golf course, and a fun selection of watercraft to rent there too. There are also cabins to rent and a golf course too.

Getting out and exploring Dry Falls though is one of the most memorable things you can do. Take a drive through the floor of the canyon and you’ll see local wildlife, interesting plants and wildflowers, and several more small lakes. Looking up at the walls that surround you makes it easy to wonder what it must been like with all that water plummeting over the rim of the canyon.

Dry Falls Washington

Dry Falls is a great roadside attraction in Eastern Washington. One that offers so muchmore than a scenic turnout. When you go there you can learn a lot about the natural history of the area, be impressed by such a huge natural sight, and also stay awhile and enjoy all that there is to do there. It really is one of the treasures of the Pacific Northwest.

Five Fun Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of Ephrata, Washington

Dry Falls

Central Washington has a lot to offer you when you visit. There are some great scenic sights to see, some fun communities with great shopping and eating establishments worth checking out, and a whole lot more. A stay in Ephrata makes it easy to reach everything too. In every direction, you can find something fun for you and your whole family or whoever you’re traveling with. It’s a great place to explore and here are five fun attractions you can get out and visit when you go there.

Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam
Grand Coulee Dam is one of the top attractions in the State of Washington. This historic dam stretches across the Columbia River in North Central Washington and is impressive to see from multiple viewpoints and learn about in the visitor’s center that sits in its shadow. If you want a real treat, stay late and watch the laser light show. It’s projected right onto the face of the dam and is truly something to see.

Lake Lenore Caves

Lake Lenore Caves
Lake Lenore Caves is a small roadside historical attraction located just north of Soap Lake on Highway 17. There a short, steep climb up to the level of the caves but then you can walk into and explore the multiple caves you find there. There’s very little development at the site which makes it easy to sit there and imagine what it must’ve been like back in the time when they were occupied and used.

Ancient Lakes

Ancient Lakes
Ancient Lakes is a natural scenic area located west of the town of Quincy and just east of the Columbia River. This series of very small lakes is reachable via a number of very level and easy to walk trails that lead through some of the best sagebrush covered canyon floors you can reach in the entire region. This is a nice way to spend time in the great outdoors in Eastern Washington.

Surf ‘n Slide Water Park

Surf N Slide Water Park Moses Lake
If you’re traveling with kids in the Moses Lake area, there’s one place you need to stop and visit, Surf ‘n Slide Water Park. This community owned attraction features much more than your normal swimming pool. There’s also a lazy river feature, a surfing attraction, and of course a couple of waterslides. The park is smaller than some of the bigger water parks in larger cities but it’s also more affordable and usually features smaller crowds too. It’s an awesome place to sit back and watch the kids have a fun and refreshing time.

Dry Falls

Dry Falls
Located just north of Lake Lenore Caves and just south of Banks Lake, Dry Falls is one of those eye opening attraction that many people have a hard time believing is located in Washington State. Dry Falls is the site of an ancient waterfall that once flowed through the area back when water from the historic Missoula Floods raged through Eastern Washington. There’s a great visitor’s center there too where you can learn a lot about the geography and this history of the site. When you’re done staring in wonder at Dry Falls from above, drive a short distance south and access the roads that wind through it below. This is one place you’ll really want to have your camera along for.

Ephrata is perfectly located to make it easy to visit all five of the above attractions, and so much more. There are a lot of other places to visit nearby too including Chief Joseph Dam, Banks Lake, Vantage, Soap Lake, Wenatchee, Potholes State Park, Lake Roosevelt, and a whole lot of museums, historical sites, parks, and more.

Stay in Ephrata

A great place to stay in Ephrata while you visit all those other things in every direction is the Best Western Rama Inn. This is a clean place with a friendly staff. There’s even a nice swimming pool for the whole family to enjoy. And you’re sure to love the breakfast every morning too.

BEST WESTERN RAMA INN
Check it Out Online: Best Western Rama Inn

Three Great Places To See Near Omak Lake

Omak Lake

Omak Lake

Omak Lake sits in North Central Washington, very near the communities of Omak and Okanogan. Getting out to the lake can be a lot of fun. Once there, you can go paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, swimming, fishing, and more there. There’s also a good amount of opportunity to explore the hillsides that surround the lake.

There’s more to the area than that though. Take a look at these three great places to see within an easy drive from Omak Lake.

Visit Conconully

Conconully is a tiny community, about 40 minutes west of Omak Lake, nestled between Conconully Lake and Conconully Reservoir. It’s home to Conconully State Park, a very popular location for camping enthusiasts. Conconully is also home to several private fishing and recreational getaways. When you visit Conconully, you really are getting away from it all.

Visit Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam is one of the more popular destinations in North Central Washington, attracting fans of engineering, history, and natural scenery. The dam is famous for its visitors center, laser light show, and as an engineering marvel. It also backs up water behind it in the form of Lake Roosevelt. Banks Lake is also located nearby. Grand Coulee Dam is just a little over an hour southeast from Omak Lake and it has been impressing and entertaining people for decades.

Visit the Cowboy Town of Winthrop

The small town of Winthrop sits on Highway 20, about an hour and 15 minutes west of Omak Lake. This little community is fun for everyone with its Old West decor and cowboy feel. The wooden plank sidewalks and great retail and dining options all have that same Old West theme. Kids and adults both love the time they spend in Winthrop. A short drive outside the town and you’re in the midst of some of the best scenery in the state.

An Unforgettable Dinosaur Experience at Jurassic Quest

The destination, or a stop off, on a roadtrip isn’t always a permanent attraction or locale. Sometimes it’s an event.

With an eye finding something for the kids to enjoy, we stopped off in Wenatchee this past weekend. There, at the Town Toyota Center, was an exhibit known as Jurassic Quest.

Jurassic Quest

Jurassic Quest is known as the largest collection of animatronic dinosaurs in the country. They put on a fantastic show with tons of things for kids of all ages. The dinosaur exhibit is amazing and includes all types. There are also versions of the dinosaurs that walk around and even baby dinosaurs held by trainers so they appear to really interact with the children visiting. Talk about some happy looks on their faces.

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In addition to the dinosaur display, Jurassic Quest also includes an area where crafts and fossil making is done. There are also real dinosaur fossils on display which are extremely interesting and popular with older kids and adults.

Jurassic Quest

One of the most popular parts of the exhibit though, especially with the younger kids, is the play area. Jurassic Quest has put together quite an impressive collection of inflatable attractions. There are obstacle courses, a bungee run, slides, climbing walls, and more. There are also large dinosaur rides and plenty of photo taking chances.

A family day out at Jurassic Quest can be a fun time wherever you find this great attraction.

The Wenatchee show was a huge hit.

They next go to Spokane from October 2nd – 4th.

Then Pasco from October 9th – 11th.

They’ll also be in Central Point, Oregon (near Medford) from October 16th – 18th.

Tickets are available at JurassicQuest.com

Sky High Sports – Spokane

Are you ready to bounce off the walls?

That’s the question asked by Sky High Sports in Spokane, Washington.

Wanting to try something I’d never done before, I “JUMPED” at the chance to check out Sky High Sports when I was recently in Spokane. This is an incredible facility. It is huge and possesses I don’t know how many trampolines that take up all of the space in a large open gymnasium of sorts. There are even angled trampolines along the walls so that when you get to the wall you can bounce back and go the other way.

We had a blast there as I learned to do some tricks I never thought I could do. For me, the most fun was running on the trampolines and then bouncing up on the the angled ones only to bounce back out into the “field of play”.

SkyHighSports

Sky High Sports hosts dodgeball tournaments (which must be a blast), birthday parties, AIRobics classes, and special events for large groups. This is one place you cannot help but have a ton of fun at. A real treat for anyone visiting Spokane who wants to get out and be a little active.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site

Located just outside of Walla Walla, the Whitman Mission National Historic Site is another of the many awesome historical sites worth visiting in the Pacific Northwest.

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were missionaries that came into the Walla Walla area in 1836. It was set up right along the Oregon Trail and was an important stop for pioneers heading out to the Northwest.

The Whitmans were massacred a little over a decade later by the local Cayuse tribe following a particularly devastating measles outbreak that decimated the tribe. This event played a large role in the United States Congress designating the area as the Oregon Territory, and also in the beginnings of what would become known as the Cayuse War.

This is a favorite stop of mine these days when I’m in the Walla Walla area. That’s beautiful country there, by the way, and the winding highways and country roads treat you to excellent views of the rolling hillsides.

The Whitman Mission National Historic Site has a great visitor center that details all that happened that day. It also has some very interesting findings from some of the archaeological excavations that have taken place there over the years. You can also take a self guided walking tour around the grounds and see the foundations of the buildings that stood there during the time. You can even see some remnants of the famous Oregon Trail itself.

I really appreciate the chance to walk in the footsteps of these brave people who settled this area that we all love so much. There is enough land there left in its natural state too to give you a good idea of what it looked back in the time of these pioneers.

Ancient Lakes Near Quincy, Washington

Ancient Lakes

Ancient Lakes is the name given to a hiking area located just west of Quincy, Washington and just off of Highway 28. This area was carved by the ancient Missoula floods. The coulee left behind was scarred with small depressions and these fill up with water to form several “ancient” lakes.

I showed up at Ancient Lakes for the first time recently and was looking forward to a classic Eastern Washington hiking experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking in the Cascades and on the Olympic Peninsula, surrounded by high mountain peaks and lush green forests, but sometimes a change can be nice too. A hike like the one to Ancient Lakes is relatively easy over flat ground and allows you to see up close and personal a land of sagebrush and rock walls.

After hiking in on an old 4×4 road that now only allows horseback riding and hiking, we took a left and headed east into a canyon. After a quarter mile or so we reached the top of a small rise and were treated to one of the best views ever. As you look further into the closed off canyon you can see that you are almost completely surrounded by rock walls. We counted two waterfalls spilling over the edge and five small lakes. We hiked between the lakes to a wide open spot that was obviously a favorite to some overnight campers, then skirted one canyon wall south before following the trail up to a small saddle that provided us with a view into the next canyon and Dusty Lake.

The hike out was pain free too and we left with some nice photos and a great experience of being out on the trail in Eastern Washington. I appreciated the opportunity of getting a glimpse of what this land must have looked like to the first pioneers that went through it.

My hike through Ancient Lakes was a bit like stepping back in time. It was yet another reminder of how lucky I am to live in the Pacific Northwest.

Rocky Reach Dam Near Wenatchee

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When you think about it, the construction of a dam across a major river is pretty amazing. To stop the flow of water, or at least alter it significantly, so large crews can build a concrete structure on dry riverbed is something incredibly impressive. As roadtrippers, we pass by dams all the time. Some of them are small and some quite large. If you’re driving along the Columbia River, you are guaranteed to see one.

Just north of Wenatchee and spanning the Columbia River is Rocky Reach Dam. Construction began on this dam in 1956 and all these years later it stands as one of the more important pieces of the hydroelectric production grid in Eastern Washington. Rocky Reach Dam has 11 turbines and sits 473 river miles above where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. When built, it was a very important project for the region. It still is too.

You can access Rocky Reach Dam on the west side of the river from Highway 97A. There are climbing toys for kids as well as a picnic area and large playground available for anyone just after driving through the main gate. The visitor center is where all the really good stuff is and that is further north.

Once inside the visitor center you will see an information booth, a seating area, and a snack bar. Take the stairs down a level and you will find yourself able to view some exhibits as well as enter a small theater where some documentaries are usually playing detailing the construction of the dam, as well as how it works. When you go down one more flight of stairs (there is also an elevator), you will come to the fish viewing windows and during high volume times of the year this can be a fun place for kids and adults alike.

Rocky Reach Dam is also home to the Museum of the Columbia. Walk out onto the dam itself and gain entrance to this fascinating series of exhibits that detail the early days of the river and the inhabitants that lived along it. There are also some very cool displays of equipment used during the time of the dam’s construction. Continue on past the museum and come to a viewing window overlooking the generators that produce the electricity. At the end of that hallway is the large viewing window that gives you a close up look at the spillways. If you’re lucky, they’ll be open and white water will be raging through it on its way downstream.

RRdamMuseum

I love stopping at dams and seeing the history on display as well as marveling at these manmade contraptions that briefly harnessed mother nature and got it working for them. Rocky Reach Dam is a great place to visit on your way north or south through the North Central Washington region.

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