John Guilford's Hikes
Steamboat Rock on 2013-07-14
People: (including myself): Pam
Lv Campground: 10:20 1600
Base Cliff: 10:35 1760
Notch: 10:50 2150
South Butte: 11:00 2260
North Butte: 11:30 2285
Base Cliff: 12:15
Steamboat Rock, the most prominent feature of
Streamboat Rock State Park near Grand Coulee, WA.
It is a 600 acre sheer sided butte
along the shore of Banks Lake, a 27 mile long man-made lake that was
filled by pumping water up from the lower Lake Roosevelt. The butte
is divided into a smaller southern and larger northern piece by a
notch that provides the easiest ascent to the top.
In the State Park, several trails start from the various
campgrounds or the
day use area. These converge to the base of the cliff below the notch.
The trail climbs the scree slope before ascending a gully to the notch.
The trail is steep in places and completely exposed to the sun. Cooler
days or climbing in the morning is helpful in avoiding the hot afternoon sun.
Steamboat Rock forms a peninsula that rougly parallels the shore
of the lake. Between the State Park and the shore, Banks Lake forms a
large bay known as the Devils Punch Bowl. The camping areas of the
State Park lie along the shore here.
From the top of the notch, trails diverge with the lefthand trail leading
to the southern portion of the butte, with the righthand trail leading to
the larger northern portion.
We first ascended the southern portion with good views down Banks
Lake towards Coulee City. The top of the butte is flat and covered
with low brush and grasses.
We descended back down into the notch before ascending up to
the top of the northern portion. We traversed the trail eastward until
we came to the east face, the steepest side of the butte. Here there is
a good view of Banks Lake where it meets with the Devils Punch Bowl.
The trail to the north portion of the butte was easier and less steep
than the trail to the south portion, but the hardest part of the trail are
a couple sections climbing the gulley to the notch. It is a bit trickier
descending the gulley than it was ascending as it was easier to slip and
loose your footing.
In the summer the trail can be rather hot. Bring plenty of water,
wear sturdy shoes, and it can be a short, fun hike with some nice
views at the top. It is a 2 to 4 mile round trip depending on which
trailhead you start at and how much wandering you do on top.
Southern part of Steamboat Rock as seen from campground.
Pam approaching base of gully leading to notch. The trail
up the scree is visible as are other hikers further up.
Southern part of Steamboat Rock from near the base of the gully.
John at the notch with the Devils Punch Bowl in the background.
Looking south west down Banks Lake from Steamboat Rock.
Looking east over east corner of the State Park.
View of the camp grounds as well as SW part of Devils Punch Bowl.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015