Ancient Lake


Backpack - Ancient Lake

Easy early-season gear shakeout trip to the desert of Eastern Washington.

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  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 5.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft

7:30am at the Eastgate Park and Ride, just off I-90 in Bellevue  (14200 SE Eastgate Way).

Easy early-season gear shakeout trip to the desert of Eastern Washington.

Rather than lament this year’s record-short winter, this trip celebrates the early start of spring.  Among the local classic early season destinations Ancient Lake is perhaps the most reliable in terms of weather and therefore an obvious choice for those wanting to get an early start to the season.   Because it is part of the wide open Washington desert east of the Cascade Crest, it also offers a break from hikes in the lowland forests while waiting for the high country to open up.  The area features basalt cliffs, cactus, and a rare desert waterfall.  Read more on the WTA website:

This is an easy trip but is not for beginners.  Participants should have some previous overnight experience as well as adequate gear and clothing.

The hike to the campsite is short and we should arrive by lunchtime.  The area has many beautiful day hike destinations, so after we have set up camp and had lunch we may do some easy day hiking to explore the area.  Specifics will be decided by the group.  On Sunday we’ll linger a bit to enjoy the morning before setting out to hike back to the cars.

There will be a full moon Saturday night.  Sunset will be around 7:30pm and sunrise will be around 6:30am.

Before signing up, be advised that the area has two quirks:

  1. The local water supply is not safe to drink even with filtering, therefore everyone must carry in enough water for the whole trip.  Fortunately the trail to the campsite is short with almost no elevation change, so carrying the extra weight shouldn’t be be too bad.  But still, be forewarned than our packs will be heavier than usual for a one night trip.
  2. There are no trees from which to hang food, so bear canisters or Ursacks are required.  (Not that we expect bears, but we do expect smaller critters.)  We will likely share some bear canisters among the group.

The registration deadline for this trip is a full week before the departure date in order to give people the prior weekend to prepare and to make gear sharing arrangements if they choose.  Possible shared gear includes tents, bear canisters, stoves, etc.


Ancient Lake

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports