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Views from the visitor center right along the highway are impressive.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park

34875 Park Lake Road NE Coulee City, WA 99115
Summer = 6:30-dusk. Winter = 8-dusk.
509-632-5583 2 hours
September 2010 Summer
$10-29 Coulee City Washington
Website Nature State Parks
First review
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027 acre park located in the Columbia Basin region of eastern Washington. The park includes several lakes which are surrounded by steep cliffs and basalt rock formations. The park interpretive center overlooks the dry falls canyon, which was created by ancient enormous floods.

Approximately 15,000 years ago the epic Missoula Floods unleashed repeated deluges across large parts of Washington and Oregon. These floods were caused by a collapse, reforming and subsequent collapse of an ice dam that held back glacial Lake Missoula. The resulting torrent of water is estimated to have flowed at a rate of 10 times all the world’s rivers combined and at a speed of over 60 miles an hour. This flood generated the largest waterfall thought ever to have existed, a cascade 3.5 miles wide and 400 feet deep.

The Dry Falls Interpretive Center is a small museum but highly interesting. It explains the history of the area with an emphasis on the Missoula Floods. Also explored is the fascinating story of J. Harlen Bretz, a geologist who is credited with proving that the flooding occurred and who persevered in his beliefs despite professional ridicule and contempt. Right outside the center is a great view of the steep cliffs formed by the floods. The park also includes several lakes and is a popular choice for boating and for camping. Lake swimming is an option in summer months. Hiking is fairly limited here but you can get some good views of the landscape, canyons and cliffs at either the Deep Lake Trail or a trail to the base of the Umatilla Rock. The museum and the view of Dry Falls are the highlights of this park. Even if these are all you see, it’s worth a visit when in the area.
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