Soon, Northrup Canyon will be full of green. If you like a nice hike, this one is recommended.
It’s a great place to shake off winter and welcome spring. A creek runs through part of it, and a blue sky gives a beautiful contrast to the basalt coulee walls that rise up closely on either side.
Don’t forget to take water. It can be a three- to four-hour hike, or more, depending on how far you want to go.
An old homestead of the Northrup family sits at at nice turnaround spot at the top of the canyon. But you can go further, up a rough trail to a small hidden lake.
A restroom and information kiosk sits near gate at the beginning of the trail, but there no facilities past that. As a part of the state park system, a Discover Pass is required to visit. The most convenient place to get one is at Coulee Playland in Electric City.
If you’d like to glimpse the inside story of one aspect of the mission of Grand Coulee Dam, this is a good video.
The dam was originally conceived to provide irrigation to more than a million acres of potential farmland in the Columbia basin, but these days most people think of it as a huge electricity producer.
It is that, but this video, produced by the Bureau of Reclamation as a tool to help potential recruits, also provides a good overview of the basics with some spectacular footage. Watching it will help you appreciate what you see when you visit in person.
Grand Coulee Dam is the largest electrical production facility of any kind, in terms of capacity, in North America. But it doesn’t just happen magically. These folks make it happen. Watch:
We love it when you visit us!
And the view you’ve shown in your Instagram account, from the Crown Point Lookout, always inspires.
Thanks for stopping by.
From Instragram: jenkrajicekDetour to Grand Coulee Dam. This is what happens when I let Henry navigate
Wondering how Henry found this great viewpoint?
Below is a map. From the Visitor Center at Grand Coulee Dam, take a left to go uphill on highway 155. Continue to the intersection with highway 174 and turn right. Follow 174 until you see the sign directing you to Crown Point Overlook.
This is a state park site, and a Discover Pass is required, but the view of the dam and down river is spectacular.
You can take a unique tour on the bridge across the Columbia River, simply by walking across it and reading several signs depicting history and geology.
The tour is self-guided and free.
It takes advantage of the four-foot-wide sidewalks along each side of the 950-foot span across the river to tell the story, on the upstream side of the bridge, of the building of the dam.
Cross over to the downstream side and you’ll find out just how the site was formed geologically. Its fascinating prehistory led to this being the perfect site to build the Grand Coulee Dam. (Hint: humans weren’t the first to make a dam here.)
Depending on how fast you read, walk and absorb the fantastic story, the tour could take from a half hour to an hour.
Or, if you just want a brisk walk in a unique location with an unobstructed view of the dam, this is a good one.
It’s an exciting walk for most people, and safe, but if you’re extremely queasy about heights, this could be a little too exciting.
The bridge itself rests on two monolithic piers that rest securely on bedrock, each 150 feet high. Approximately 300 tons of structural carbon and silicon steel makes up the cantilever truss bridge that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began to build in late 1934.
It was designed by the Washington Department of Highways for the Columbia Basin Commission to serve a dual purpose, according to documents on file with the Historic American Engineering Record. It would initially serve in the transport of heavy equipment during construction of the dam, then as a permanent highway bridge for State Route 155. That meant the bridge was built to a heavier specification than normally would have been used for a highway bridge.
But as construction of the bridge neared completion, the east pier tilted nine inches, probably because of a deposit of fine glacial material that lay beneath the 20 or 30 feet of gravel at the surface layer.
The incident delayed completion of the bridge for several months, while a 50-ton jack, cables and 72-foot deadman steel beams on the shore kept all in place until the foundation was secured through the construction of pneumatic caissons.
As of Oct. 1, 2015, campfires are allowed in established fire rings in campgrounds and day-use areas throughout Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Charcoal grills are also allowed; however, other forms of open flame, such as tiki torches and lakebed campfires, are still banned.
Regulations require your campfire to be less than three feet in diameter within the established fire ring. Fires must be attended at all times and completely extinguished with water before you go to bed or leave your campsite.
It is also illegal to burn chemically treated wood, painted wood, wood with staples as well as household garbage including plastic and cans.
For more information, check the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area website at www.nps.gov/laro.