Ben There, Done That: Dusty Lake and Ancient Lakes

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Instead of your typical mossy forested hike, try checking out Dusky Lake and Ancient Lakes east of the Cascades. This recommendation comes from Barbara Purvis.

The hike begins just north of Vantage a couple miles from the Columbia Gorge. It’s a neat hike because you’re consistently surrounded by cliffs. These basalt rock formations are what’s known as a cataract canyon, and were shaped millions of years ago.

While on this hike, make sure you bring plenty of water and grab sunscreen. There are no trees, no shade all day long, and it gets hot. Only sagebrush and occasional batches of wildflowers, which are just starting to bloom.

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Even though the hike includes lakes, it’s recommended you don’t drink the water. This is farm country, and runoff may include irrigation chemicals. Even after filtering the water may not be safe to drink. Make sure you pack enough in for your entire trip.

When you hike the Ancient Lakes, a map would be useful. There are times when the trail comes to a fork, and you have to choose which route to take.

Keep in mind this is also rattlesnake country. They can blend in with their surroundings, and we actually walked right past one without seeing him.

Don't forget your Discover Pass!