Ancient Lake


Backpack - Ancient Lake

Experience the pleasant spring climate of eastern Washington while hiking through fields of wildflowers and by two waterfalls and multiple lakes on an easy three mile hike to a scenic campsite among the lakes. After setting up camp, we'll take a short day hike to two ridge saddles overlooking another larger lake. We hike out Sunday morning after breakfast.

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  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 8 AM Saturday at the Preston Park and Ride lot, where we can consolidate cars.  It is reached by taking Exit 22 from I-90,  turning left at the end of the exit to cross the freeway, left again at the T junction, and then taking the first left into the park and ride lot. No parking pass is required there.

From the Preston Park and Ride lot we will caravan east on I-90 to the Travelers' Rest at Snoqualmie Pass Exit 53, turning right at the end of the exit and right again at the T junction.  The Travelers' Rest is the first building on the right.  It has  public restrooms and a store.

Then we will caravan again onto I-90 eastbound, taking Exit 149 (George), turning right at the end of the exit and right again at the truck stop there that has gas, restrooms a Subway and a store.

Then we caravan north on SR 281 and follow directions to be supplied later to the Ancient Lake trailhead parking lot.   Each car parked there must display the Discover Pass.  There is a portapotty at the trailhead parking lot, but not on the hiking route or at the camp spot.  But in the camp area and along the day hiking route there are bushes and rock monoliths to go behind for bathroom breaks. After hiking in, we will set up camp, have a trail lunch and then day hike to the two ridge saddles for a spectacular view of a large lake.

After returning to camp, we'll have a camp dinner followed by smores around the campfire,  if a campfire is an option.

Sunday morning we'll have a camp breakfast, pack up camp and hike out via the route we hiked in.  There will be an optional meal stop in Ellensburg or Roslyn during the drive home. 

IMPORTANT:  There is no consumable water available on this hike, even through filtering, treating or boiling, because all available water in the waterfalls and lakes is contaminated by chemicals from agricultural runoff, that cannot be removed by boiling, treating or filtering.  The lakes by our campsite are pretty to look at and may be safe to swim in, but not safe to drink from or use for rehydration of freeze-dried food.  So you need to carry in all the water you use for cooking and drinking.  The climate is dry in eastern Washington, so you will probably need two liters of water for drinking, in addition to what you use for meal preparation.  We are not doing a day hike on Sunday so we can limit the amount of water we need to carry in.  You will have an opportunity to fill water bottles at our stop at the truck stop in George on the drive in.  It is recommended that you leave a liter of water in your vehicle to drink after the hike out.  There is no water source at the trailhead. 



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
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