The Pacific Northwest is a gorgeous landscape crafted by everything from volcanic activity to Ice Age floods. And thanks to our 100+ state parks, there's plenty of opportunities to explore all the wonders left behind. — Like these caves in Washington that were actually formed over 12,000 years ago by melting ice!
Located near Coulee City, Lake Lenore Caves are an easy 1.2-mile roundtrip trail. It'll take you to explore seven unique caves created during the Great Missoula flood some 13,000 years ago.
If you're a history nerd or just like fascinating facts, this spot is for you.
After the waters fell back and the caverns were created, there's also evidence to prove that early native people used them as shelters. The Washington Trails Association notes that it continues to be used as a sacred area and a gathering ground for Native Americans.
A Discover Pass of $30 per vehicle will get you into the park and is valid for 365 days. If you can't get enough of the mysterious terrain and want to visit throughout the year, you can.
Although it's open year-round, the best (and the busiest) time for this adventure is between early spring in March and November.
Because of the terrain, reptiles like to cool off in the rocks, so be on the lookout for those rattlesnakes.
The trail starts at a parking lot where a flight of stairs carved into the rock will put you on the path to finding this spot.
You'll come across sweeping views of canyons, cliffs, and several shallow basalt caves — some of which you can climb inside too!
While you pause to take in the beauty (and endless pictures), you can't help but imagine the massive flood that created them.
A path of fractured rocks will take you to the largest structure where you'll find people picnicking on a good day.
It's definitely a trip for the curious spelunkers out there. It's even a short, 13-minute drive away from the famous Soap Lake that's known to have "healing" properties. And like most of the Evergreen State's wonders, you'll have to see it to believe it.
Lake Lenore Caves
Difficulty: EasyLength: 1.2 miles out-and-back
Address: Lake Lenore Caves Trail, WA
Why You Need To Go: You can explore several ancient caves created by the Ice Age floods.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.