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Frenchman Coulee

Central Washington


Central Washington -- Potholes Region
View map below


4.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 200 ft.
Highest Point: 1000 ft.


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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

Vantage is primarily a destination for rock climbers, with the fascinating rock formations of the Gorge making for a great challenge to those wishing to hone their belaying skills. But nearby Frenchman Coulee allows hikers to enjoy the same surroundings with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

The trail is short, but it provides a nice view of the columnar basalt and a seasonal waterfall. Proceed from where you parked your car to the gate at the north end of the tiny parking lot, where you can see a dirt path that leads downward and is otherwise out of sight. Please do not block the gate as it leads to private property.

Head down this road to the base of the wall that juts out of the valley floor. In spring, a waterfall may being flowing down the tall wall. Flowers festoon the area near the water, though a variety of blossoms accompany you the entire length of the trail, and keep you company on your way to the waterfall and back.


Frenchman Coulee

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.0259, -119.9805 Open map in new window


Central Washington -- Potholes Region

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia Basin Wildlife Area

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Guidebooks & Maps

Best Desert Hikes: Washington (Bauer & Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods (Bruce Bjornstad - Keokee Books)

Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Moses Lake

Getting There

From Ellensburg, drive east on I-90 to exit 143, Silica Road and The Gorge Amphitheater. At the bottom of the ramp, go left under the freeway for 0.7 mile. Turn left on Vantage Road SW. A Discover Pass is required beyond this point. Travel 2.6 miles to a small, easy-to-miss gravel parking lot on the right, surrounded by concrete barriers. There are no amenities.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

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Frenchman Coulee

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