What are the local choices for a picnic, viewing, easy hike or bike trail?
• North Dam Park – the upper half, maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation, is located on SR155, just 0.3 miles south of its junction with SR174. It overlooks Banks Lake and has picnic areas, water and rest rooms.
• North Dam Park offers a shady picnic area, tennis courts softball fields, amphitheater, horseshoe pits, a covered grill, picnic areas and playground equipment for children.
A novelty of the park, the Gehrke Windmills are a frequent tourist stop. Built by a local resident, who made over 680 before his death several years ago, the windmills are constructed of castaway iron pieces and painted in bright colors. Emil Gehrke’s windmills are recognized as “folk art” treasures and have been given media coverage on television, and in National Geographic and Sunset magazines.
• Grand Coulee City Park – located on SR174 east. A children’s play area and an adjacent picnic section are found in this tree-shaded park. A large basalt rock in the center is typical of the natural landscape of the Grand Coulee. Restrooms and water are available.
• Douglas Park – found on SR155 in the town of Coulee Dam. This well-manicured park just below Grand Coulee Dam has large evergreen trees shading its picnic tables. A paved sidewalk takes the visitor to a scenic spot along the river providing an excellent view of the dam.
• Cole Park – also maintained by Coulee Dam, affords a variety of recreational activities. It is located just off SR155, five minutes north of the Visitor Center (VC). Do not cross the Columbia River Bridge but continue north onto Columbia Avenue past the bridge. The park, is located one block ahead on the west side of the river next to the Coulee Dam Credit Union. It is a pleasant area shaded by large trees and offers, tennis, handball, horseshoes and basketball courts.
• Mason City Memorial Park – a Coulee Dam town park, is located in east Coulee Dam adjacent to the shopping center and post office. It contains picnic table, grills and play equipment in a shaded setting. Mason City was the early name of a portion of the town now called Coulee Dam.
The town of Coulee Dam constructed a new park with provisions for viewing the laser show at Grand Coulee Dam. Freedom Point Plaza is adjacent to the Columbia River Bridge, across the street from the shopping area, and features live performances from time to time.
• Downriver Trail – a 6.7 mile hiking/jogging/biking trail along the Columbia River (Rufus Woods Lake) below Grand Coulee Dam was constructed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in late 1989.
The landscaped trail, part of a road that is used by the U.S.B.R. for maintenance purposes, is open to the public. No motorized vehicles are allowed. A foot and bicycle bridge connects the system to the town of Coulee Dam across from the Coulee House Motel. This compact-gravel pathway is an excellent way to view the river and enjoy a peaceful respite morning, noon or night.
Try Crown Point for a bird’s-eye view of the dam!
You will find special delight in seeing the Grand Coulee Dam and surrounding countryside from this hilltop. Take SR174 two miles west of Grand Coulee (toward Bridgeport) and watch for signs.