Lake Creek Coulee Hike

Hike Rating: Moderate
Hike Length: 4.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Loss: 400’
Trailhead Elevation: 1,840’
Best Season: April-May and September
Driving Access: Any vehicle

Plus Points
• A scenic cross-country hike along the coulee rim, returning on the dry lake bed
• Magnificent, sweeping vistas up and down the picturesque Lake Creek coulee
• Vertical columnar basalt walls, covered with colorful yellow and orange lichen
• Spring wildflowers, including delphinium, phlox, white lupine and horse mint
• Mule deer are abundant on the rim, with red-tailed hawks common overhead
• A place where solitude can be enjoyed in a cow-free, desert landscape

Minus Points
• The 1.6 mile section along the rim is cross-country over rugged and rocky terrain
• Little shade throughout the hike, so an early morning start is best on hot days
• Rattlesnakes are a possibility throughout the summer, so be aware

Download (PDF, 607 KB): Photos of Lake Creek Coulee Hike
Download (PDF, 653 KB): Topo Map for Lake Creek Coulee Hike
Download (GPX, 1 KB): GPS Points for Lake Creek Coulee Hike
Download (PDF, 545 KB): Road Map for Lake Creek Coulee Hike

Trail Notes
Map of Lake Creek Coulee Hike
From the BLM "Road Closed" marker, the route follows a jeep track due west downhill to a steel gate in a fence line at about 0.3 miles. Through this gate, the road gradually descends to a wide cleared area at 0.5 miles (GPS Point 1) — just before it drops steeply down into the coulee. From this clearing, the route heads southwest cross-country to the rim, across rocky terrain and past a prominent basalt tower covered in yellow lichen. A few hundred yards past this rock tower, at the 0.9 mile point, one reaches the rim and the first dramatic views of the coulee below (GPS Point 2).

For the next mile, the route is cross-country south along the rim, following game trails just back from the vertical rock edge. Every few hundred yards, one can wander over to the rim edge and take in the spectacular views up and down the Lake Creek coulee. Mule deer are common in the uplands here, as well as spring wildflowers. After a mile along the rim, one enters a low draw trending south and the route follows cattle trails down the draw through thick sagebrush. At 2.1 miles, the draw intersects the BLM Odessa-Lake Creek Trail running east-west (GPS Point 3), a developed trail popular with equestrians. Follow this marked trail west for about 0.3 miles, down through the rim and past a developed spring and water trough, to the coulee floor.

Once on the flat coulee floor, the route turns north cross-country and skirts the east edge of the old dry lakes on faint game trails, under vertical basalt cliffs. The walking is easy through the cheat grass along the former lake shores and the views are magnificent. After crossing a wire fence about halfway up the coulee, one comes to twin towers of columnar basalt standing in the center of the coulee floor. The route follows old cow trails around the right (east) side of these towers and continues north into a long alcove on the east side of the coulee. At the north end of this alcove (GPS Point 4), one finds the old jeep road leading up the hillside. Follow this jeep road for about a mile back to the trailhead.

Road to Trailhead
From Route 28 in Odessa, WA, turn north on SR 21 and follow it for 2.8 miles north to the gravel Lakeview Ranch Loop Road on the left (west). Follow Lakeview Ranch Loop Road, first west for a mile, then north for 1.4 miles, then west again for another mile, to a 90 degree turn north (3.4 miles in total from SR 21). The trailhead is below the road to the left (west) at this 90 degree turn.

If dry, one can pull off the gravel road onto a small dirt road running west and park at the BLM "Road Closed" sign. If wet or muddy, it's best to stay on the gravel road and park off to the side, near the corner. This trailhead is easily accessible by any passenger car.

Camping Options
The nearest developed camping area is the BLM Pacific Lake/Lakeview Ranch Campground, about 2 miles north of the trailhead on the Lakeview Ranch Loop Road. Here, northeast of the old Lakeview Ranch buildings and corrals, on a flat bench above now dry Pacific Lake, are a vault toilet and gravel parking areas suitable for travel trailers. A grassy area with a few sparse shade trees, plus tables and fire rings, serves tent campers and picnickers. There is no potable water, but drinking water jugs can be filled at the City Park in downtown Odessa. Though Pacific Lake is now dry, the area is still quite scenic, with vertical basalt walls defining both sides of the coulee. A quiet spot for camping, with no fees charged. Do keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.

Agency Contact: Spokane BLM District, (509) 536-1200

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but the authors do not guarantee that it is either current or correct. The reader assumes full responsibility for any use of this information, and is encouraged to contact local public land agencies to inquire about current conditions before traveling.

Page last updated: 11/5/13