Banks Lake and the campground are in Grand Coulee. A coulee is a deep ravine or gully, usually dry, that was been carved out by water.
Here are some views of the down coulee.
The walls are 500 feet high.
According to a movie at the visitors center near the end of the last ice age fingers of the glaciers had reached down near here and blocked up some rivers to create a huge lake. Supposedly the ice dam failed suddenly and the entire 350 cubic mile volume of water in the lake drained in 3 days into the Pacific ocean. Progressively smaller ones happened over and over forming this and many other coulees. When the water was flowing, the flat lands on top of the walls would have been under many hundreds of feet of water. Kind of mind boggling.
This morning we decided to hike up Steamboat Rock to check out the views. The campground is the green area in the foreground.
Off we go.
It looked a lot higher as we got close. You can see the trail angle up into a V notch
The climb up the lower wall was quite steep with large stones.
Looking back down at the campground.
We are not sure what the yellow colour was on this huge cliff.
Lots of interesting structure to that cliff.
Then it flattened out a bit before the final climb to the top. You can see two guys silhouetted on the top in the distance.
Made it up to the top. The view to the south.
The view to the north from our lunch spot. You could continue to hike around the entire perimeter of the rock but we turned back here.
Back along the very flat and very dry top.
Starting back down to the campground in the distance on left.
Our path down.
A view of the entire hike and the path we took.
We went back to the dam visitors center to see about taking the powerhouse tour that is only offered during the day but it turns out that the ^%*^ transformer from yesterday was being unloaded and there were no tours today. I guess you have to have some unlucky times but the scenery from this morning made it easier to take. We just went up to a lookout to take one last picture of the dam.