All posts by Scott Hunter

Scott has been living in the Grand Coulee Dam area since 1988 and loving it.

20 bands playing rhythm and blues festival at Sunbanks Lake Resort

The stage at Sunbanks during the blues festival.
The stage at Sunbanks during the blues festival.

It’s blues time at Sunbanks Lake Resort on the shores of Banks Lake in Electric City.
Sunbanks has won the state Blues award for the past two years running and this year attracts bands and musicians from all over the country.
On Saturday, award-winning blues musician Matt Andersen is scheduled for the stage with his band, the “Bona Fide.’

His new album, “Honest Man,” debuted at number five on the sales charts in Canada, from where he originally hails. Andersen has toured the world, sharing the stage with such legends as Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, and Greg Allman, among others.

Headlining the four-day event is James Harman’s Bamboo Porch Revue. The Delgado Brothers are back and Hamilton Loomis, Casey Miller & the Barnyard Stompers, Matt Andersen & the Bona Fide, Karen Lovely Band, Ken De-Rouchie Band, Selwyn Birchwood, Twang Junkies with Bob Hill, and Billy Stoops and the Dirt Angels are all scheduled to make appearances during the festival.
Other bands and performers include Acoustic Noise, James Coates, Shoot Jake, Forest Beutel, Adam Hendricks, Franco & the Stingers, Stacy Jones Band, Trevalyan Triangle, Sara Brown Band and the Vaughn Jensen Band fill out the list.

Harmon hails out of Anniston, Alabama and started performing in 1962. He has performed in 28 countries and has built up a massive song catalog.
Another headliner, Hamilton Loomis, is out of Texas and performs all over the country.

Flip through our new 2016 visitor guide

The Grand Coulee
The Grand Coulee, itself, graces the cover of our visitors’ guide this year.

When you get to the area, pickup one of our Grand Coulee Dam Area Visitors Guides anywhere for a comprehensive guide to all things in the coulee.
Until you get here, feel free to click on the image above to flip through the digital version of it.

Laser Light Show starts nightly on May 28

laser show


Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center Begins Laser Light Show May 28

GRAND COULEE, Washington – On May 28, Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center will begin its extended summer season hours, along with its Laser Light Show which plays nightly through the end of September.

Visitor Center hours will be from 8:30 a.m. until one hour past the start of the Laser Light Show. Through the end of July, the show will begin at 10 p.m. For August, the show begins at 9:30 p.m. and for September, 8:30 p.m.

May 28 will also begin an increase in the number of public tours into the John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant. These one hour tours occur daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visitors will ride a shuttle bus to the pumping plant to view gigantic pumps lifting water from Lake Roosevelt to Banks Lake, which then delivers water throughout the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. The shuttle will then take visitors across the top of Grand Coulee Dam for spectacular views of Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River.

Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are taken and space is limited.

For more information call the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center at (509) 633-9265. Or visit:

Northrup Canyon invites you

A spring hike up Northrup Canyon puts you in the midst of a thriving environment between coulee walls.
A spring hike up Northrup Canyon puts you in the midst of a thriving environment between coulee walls.

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.


The inside story today at the dam

Electrical switchyard
One of the switchyards used in directing the electricity produced at Grand Coulee Dam onto the grid that powers several states.

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: