Stunning Geology: Frenchman Coulee

Location:

Pass Required:

Features:

Vantage, Wa GPS: 47.0253, -119.968


Adventure Highlights

  • Towering Basalt Pillars are great for climbers

  • Hiking in the area offers stunning views.

  • Boating /Fishing Access Available

A climber tackles one of the beautiful Basalt Pillars the area is know for.  Source.

A climber tackles one of the beautiful Basalt Pillars the area is know for. Source.

Climbing, Hiking, Camping, Fishing


Just the drive in offers stunning views of the Basalt Pillars that erupt out of the landscape.  © Steven Pavlov  /  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

Just the drive in offers stunning views of the Basalt Pillars that erupt out of the landscape. © Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

Discover Pass


Located in the central-est of central Washington, the striking landscapes of Frenchman Coulee remind us of the great adventures to be had east of the Cascades. Frenchman Coulee is especially renowned among rock-climbers because of the towering basalt pillars which have come to define the geology of the area. “The Feathers” and “The Sunshine Wall” are especially popular among regulars to the area. Getting to the Sunshine Wall itself is a fun adventure, requiring you to slip into a thin crevasse between the rocks, shimmying between two stone walls before being greeted by the towering basalt pillars on the other side.

If you are looking to keep your feet a little closer to the ground, the stunning natural rock formations that litter this area can be enjoyed along a lovely 4.8 mile out and back trail. After descending to the base of a massive rock wall, seasonally you can find a waterfall cascading over the stone. In the spring, there are an abundance of wildflowers to enjoy as you walk along the floor of the gorge.

The area is also a popular camping spot, and there is fishing access as well.


MAP & DIRECTIONS

Getting there: From Ellensburg, take I-90 east to Vantage, then continue following I-90 north after crossing over the bridge. Take exit 143 for silica road, then at the first intersection take a left on Vantage Rd. From there "The Feathers,” a popular climbing spot is just a mile up the road. For the trail, travel 2.6 miles to a small, easy-to-miss gravel parking lot on the right, surrounded by concrete barriers.

“The Feathers,” a popular climbing spot.  Source.

“The Feathers,” a popular climbing spot. Source.


Ian Floyd