“Ancient Lakes is a desert oasis in eastern Washington that makes for an easy day trip.”
— Jessie Morris
Parking Pass/Entry Fee or Discover Pass.
Features: Commonly Bikepacked
Family Friendly: This trail features low elevations and a relatively short distance from the trailhead to the lakes.
Note that there are two trailheads to approach Ancient Lakes (one from Rd 9 and one from south of White Trail Rd). This route departs from the Ancient & Dusty Lakes Trailhead that can be found at the end of Rd 9 (which turns into Ancient Lake Rd). There are multiple paths you can take but as long as you head in the general direction of the first canyon to the east, all paths lead to Ancient Lakes (if you go too far, you'll reach Dusty Lake).
The ride marked here is the most common path. There is another path north of this trail (still south of the cliff walls) that will take you closer to a lone waterfall.
As you approach Ancient Lakes, if you continue on to the lake in the northeastern most point, you'll find a waterfall attraction. Swimming in the lakes is common, but beware of rattlesnakes on the ground and in the water (they can swim!) during the summer months.
Whether for a day trip or an overnight, be sure to explore the area's many paths to get the full experience. There are many viewpoints from this waterfall, the hill that looks at it, as well as a trail that ventures to the south side and up the canyon.
There are very few trees and shade in this area, so be prepared with sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water (especially in the warm weather).
These trails are shared by hikers and runners as well as horses.