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Ancient Lakes Loop Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.0 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Ancient Lakes is a desert oasis in eastern Washington that makes for an easy day trip or beginner backpack trip.


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Map Key

4.7

Miles

7.5

KM

99%

Runnable

1,009' 307 m

High

844' 257 m

Low

222' 68 m

Up

222' 68 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Parking Pass/Entry FeeDiscover Pass.

Overview

Ancient Lakes Loop Trail is a relatively easy trek with little elevation gain, lots of campsites spread out across a network of trails (indicated by small fire rings). Nestled into horseshoe-shaped canyon walls, the five lakes that make up Ancient Lakes are also accompanied by a waterfall or two.

Need to Know

There are few trees so be prepared for heat and sun in the summer months with plenty of water. The water in the lakes is mostly runoff from irrigation, so do not drink the water, it is recommended that you pack in the water you'll need or bring a water filtration system.

Rattlesnakes are common in the summer months, so be sure to stay on path and keep aware. This area is known for high winds.

Description

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 and 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 run marked here is the most common path. The Ancient Lake Trail to the north travels closer to the base of the cliffs and 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, runners, mountain bikers, as well as horses.

Flora & Fauna

Beware of rattle snakes in the summer months - they are common in this area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jessie Morris

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 8 votes

#2817

Overall
  4.0 from 8 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#156

in Washington

#2,817

Overall
195 Views Last Month
8,665 Since May 8, 2017
Easy/Intermediate

29%
29%
29%
0%
14%
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Photos

The eastward-facing view is quite nice as you approach Ancient Lakes.
May 9, 2017 near Quincy, WA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 34 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 11, 2020
Vikram Sahney
Escaped the west side rain for a great trail run at Ancient Lakes. Also ran along the gorge. Mostly runnable. Some rocky slide crossings. 23mi — 5h 45m
Oct 11, 2020
Mark Paluta
Started on Ancient Lake Trail and connected to Ancient Lakes Loop Trail.
Mar 21, 2020
Dylan Kret
Mar 3, 2018
Julie Gardner
Jan 1, 2018
Robyn Pepin
Patches of ice throughout the trails but mostly crunchy - no spikes needed but probably will soon. 9.6mi