9:00 - 31.3 miles / an hour 2 minutes - 10:02
Grand Coulee Dam
Grand Coulee Dam is a large hydroelectric dam located on the Columbia River. Constructed from 12 million cubic yards of concrete, it is the largest concrete structure in the United States and the third-largest hydroelectric facility in the world. Sharing the river with 10 other US dams, Grand Coulee is the first dam encountered on the Columbia after the river enters the US from Canada. Watch the world's largest laser light show nightly on the face of the dam, Memorial Day weekend through September. Guided tours are also available to see the dam.
10:02 - 17.4 miles / 34 minutes - 10:37
Upper Grand Coulee
900-foot coulee walls contrast sharply with the waters of Banks Lake in this flood-carved coulee that dates from the Ice Age. Here the power of ancient waters is graphically illustrated and reported in the strata of ancient basalt laid down by multiple lava eruptions from millions of years ago and hundreds of miles away. Steamboat Rock, a columnar basalt butte that was once an island in a rerouted Columbia River bed now towers 800 feet above the surface of Banks Lake.
10:37 - 0.6 miles / a minute - 10:38
Lower Grand Coulee
The lower Grand Coulee has many natural lakes and smaller year round and seasonal (vernal) ponds. Coulee walls reflect in the water and rare rains bring stunning rainbows contrasting sharply with the basalt cliffs. At the north end lake waters are fresh - at the south end Lake Lenore is alkaline hosting brine shrimp and salamanders creating a rich source of food for a variety of birds. The Plateau Indians used the caves in the coulee walls for shelter
10:38 - 9.3 miles / 18 minutes - 10:57
Northrup Canyon was a traditional route for travel to Almira from the Grand Coulee. Its outcroppings of rounded granite rock contrast dramatically with the straight basalt walls of the canyon and the larger coulee. The canyon has a mixed evergreen and deciduous forest with a mixture of shrubs and flowers underneath. Bald Eagles use the byway's only native evergreens as an important winter roost site. Hiking, horseback riding, and birding are popular activities in the canyon.
13:27 - 88.0 miles / 2 hours 55 minutes - 16:23
Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway - end