In addition to the parks operated by the Federal Government through the National Park Service, the State of Washington also provides a number of recreational sites in the area. The closest to Wilbur are Sun Lakes State Park (which includes Dry Falls) and Steamboat Rock. For more information on these and other State Parks go to www.parks.wa.gov. The Discover Pass is required anytime your vehicle is on state recreation lands managed by WDFW, DNR or State Parks.
SUN LAKES STATE PARK
Sun Lakes State Park is located seven miles southwest of Coulee City on Highway 17. The park area is part of the geological formation created by the ice age floods, which swept through the area. Originally called Dry Falls, the park was renamed because of the lakes and associated recreation in its 4,000 acres. The park is open year-round.
Visitors to Sun Lakes enjoy camping and picnicking, trout fishing, swimming, boating, hiking and golfing. The park has 152 standard campsites, 39 utility spaces, one dump station, six restrooms and 12 showers. All campsites have fire pits. The park also provides a group camp for tents only, which accommodates up to 75 people. For reservations, call 1-888-226-7688 or go online to secure.camis.com/WA. Hot showers are available in the campground rest rooms. Special programs, hikes, talks and classroom visits are available by appointment, through the visitor center, (509) 632-5214. Other park features, available seasonally, include boat rentals, a nine-hole golf course and a miniature golf course.
Camp Delaney, an environmental learning center for groups, is located within the park, with cabins for up to 76 persons. For reservations for Camp Delaney, call 1-800-360-4240. Nearby attractions include Dry Falls and Lake Lenore.
Dry Falls is a dramatic demonstration of the changes in the earth’s surface. It is the skeleton of one of the greatest waterfalls in geologic history, three and one-half miles wide with a drop of over 400 feet. Compared to Niagara’s one-mile width and 165-foot drop, Dry Falls was gigantic. Today visitors to the Dry Falls Interpretive Center can overlook the precipice and enjoy a magnificent view.
The Visitor Center is staffed from early May through the end of September. The Washington State Parks and National Parks Service are in partnership to keep the Center open. It is open daily, May 1 – September 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and special events, contact Dry Falls Visitor Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-632-5214.
LAKE LENORE CAVES
The Lake Lenore Caves are located about 10 miles south of the Dry Falls Interpretive Center, just off Highway 17. Formed when melt waters from ice age floods plucked basalt from the walls of the coulee, the caves were later used as shelters by nomadic hunters and food gatherers in prehistoric times. It is recommended for hikers that are seeking good scenery and solitude. The park covers 213.7 acres and includes parking for 12 vehicles, nearly a mile of gravel road and a three-mile trail near the north end of Lake Lenore. Stay along the main cave trails or make your own way for a more strenuous and adventurous hike.
STEAMBOAT ROCK STATE PARK
The Steamboat Rock State Park Recreation Area is 3500 acres with approximately 50,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on Banks Lake. It is located 12 miles south of Grand Coulee on State Highway 155 in the northern corner of Grant County. The boat launch is 52 miles north of the main park on Highway 155.
Steamboat Rock is a butte rising 700 feet above Banks Lake. This basalt formation, which dominates the park, was originally an island in the ancient Columbia River bed. When the Columbia changed course after the ice age, the massive rock remained as a landmark, becoming a point of reference for travelers – first by nomadic Indian tribes and later by pioneers traveling west. Even today, it is used to guide pilots on training flights.
Recreational activities include boating, fishing, camping, water-skiing, scuba diving, windsurfing, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and kite flying. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice climbing are popular winter activities. Shotgun-only hunting is available on adjacent lands administered jointly by the Game Department and State Parks.
Campers are provided with 100 utility sites, 26 standard sites (2 are ADA), a group camp, 3 comfort stations, 2 solar vault toilets and a contact station. For reservations call 888-226-7688 or online at secure.camis.com/WA.
Banks Lake Reservoir is a popular water-sport and fishing destination. At nearly 30-miles long and around a mile wide, Banks Lake is over 12% larger than Lake Washington. Many well-developed public access areas line the east side of the lake along Hwy 155 for camping and shore fishing.
Banks Lake is open year-round for fishing, camping and day use. Summer activities include water-skiing, sailing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, bird watching and wildlife viewing. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, sledding, ice-skating, ice fishing and winter camping. A day-use area accommodates up to 200 people. Call 1-888-226-7688 for reservations of the area.
SUNBANKS LAKE RESORT
Sunbanks Lake Resort is a privately owned facility in Electric City on Banks Lake offering tent and RV camping sites, cabins and lakeside villas. The resort hosts The Sunbanks Resort Rhythm & Blues Festival in May and September. The four-day festival brings rhythm and blues bands from around the state and the country. Call 888-822-7195 for more information or go online to www.sunbanksresort.com.