• Seattle to Spokane, Washington: A Dream Route for Photographers

      320 miles and 8-10 hours

      Seattle to Spokane is a common journey for many Washingtonians, but this trip can be a journey of adventure and discovery. Geologic wonders await at every turn for the discerning photographer to capture and explore, starting with the incomparable Snoqualmie Falls, followed by the little-visited Frenchman Coulee dry gorge and capped off by one of my favorite western photo locations at the Dry Falls viewpoint. A pleasant drive over the rolling wheat fields past picturesque towns complete a day of delight.

      Here are a few highlights to look out for along the way:

      Seattle, Washington (starting point)
      Your route begins at the city center of Seattle, very near the Pike Place Market.

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      Snoqualmie Falls (mile 28)
      Get on I-90 heading east and take Exit 25 to make a brief detour to Snoqualmie Falls. There are hiking trails to the base of the falls, but the main attraction is the view at the top of the falls that was always featured at the beginning of the short-lived 1990s cult TV show, “Twin Peaks”. The detour will only take half an hour and you’ll be back on your way.

      Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park (mile 141)
      Gingko Petrified Forest has excellent specimens of ancient petrified wood and is also a campground and picnic area. It is located on the Wanapum Reservoir of the Columbia River and is directly across the reservoir from your next stop, Frenchman Coulee.

      Frenchman Coulee (mile 160)
      Frenchman Coulee is a dry gorge or deep ravine created by flooding during the Ice Age. It is part of the Washington Scablands, which cover the eastern third of the state. This is a wonderland for rock climbers and hikers. There is a road (unpaved partway) all the way to the Columbia River 700 feet below the park entrance. A wind farm can be seen on the ridge across the Wanapum Reservoir. There is a vehicle use fee for parking in the coulee available from any sporting goods or hardware store in the state.

      Gorge Amphitheater (mile 167)
      Gorge Amphitheater at George. (Yes, there is a town named George, Washington) This is a huge outdoor venue that overlooks the Columbia River Basin, has 20,000 seats and hosts a variety of music, including the annual 3-day Sasquatch Music Festival. It is worth seeing it even if there isn’t a concert in town.

      Dry Falls (mile 220)
      Dry Falls is a huge geologic formation called Dry Falls. Formed during the Ice Ages, Dry Falls is 3.5 miles wide and 400 feet high, but not a drop of water flows over it anymore. The cliffs of the falls form a beautiful backdrop to Sun Lakes State Park in the basin below. The Dry Falls Interpretive Center has big picture windows and at the far end of the parking lot there is a short walkway out over the chasm that allows for fantastic photography.

      Spokane, WA (mile 320)
      The drive over to Spokane on US-2 is over rolling hills that support wheat and other crops during the growing season. Several quaint and picturesque towns dot the landscape, too.

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      A panoramic vista awaits at French Coulee.

      Comments 1 Comment
      1. Maria D's Avatar
        Maria D -
        Thank you! My family will follow your map.