Northrup Canyon

Electric City, Washington 99123

Northrup Canyon

Northrup Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"The only natural forest in Grant County grows between the vertical walls of Northrup Canyon in Steamboat Rock State Park. The hike through the canyon is as rich in human history as it is in natural history.

Remains of the Northrup family’s homestead and other human artifacts are hidden in nooks between the 200-foot-tall walls. As the canyon narrows and begins to climb toward Northrup Lake, the trail is characterized by views of rugged granite and towering basalt."

More Northrup Canyon Professional Reviews and Guides

"Bald eagles, icons of the mossy forests and deep rivers of the Pacific Coast, flock to this desert canyon each winter, and their presence is reason to visit in winter. Up to 200 of the big birds roost in the trees along the south side of the canyon each night—get to the trailhead early to see the squadrons of eagles flying out of the canyon as they head to the fishing areas of Banks Lake.

Even without the baldies, the area offers a great experience with nature. While the eagles focus on fish, the local populations of red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks hunt inland for upland birds, rodents, and small mammals."

"This little niche of Steamboat Rock State Park is largely overlooked by the fishing and boating crowds at the main campground and recreation area on Banks Lake. But nature has flourished here for years.

This day-hiking jewel is a key bald eagle wintering area and a sanctuary for everything from deer and more than 65 bird species to bats, amphibians, and rattlesnakes. Northrup Creek is the only year-round stream flowing into Banks Lake, a reservoir created in the 1950s by the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. But even this stream can disappear in drought years. Northrup Lake at the end of the trail is occasionally stocked with rainbow trout."

"Follow this 5.6-mile out-and-back day hike through a basalt-rimmed canyon in the Grand Coulee country of east-central Washington. Along the way you’ll pass through lush streamside forest dense with wildlife and end at a small, trout-filled lake. Northrup Canyon lies among the vast reaches of Washington’s Columbia Basin—the broad, arid region between the Rockies and the Cascades to the west.

It’s the side of Washington that catches many visitors by surprise—a region dominated by a plateau of basalt intermittently dissected by deep, narrow river canyons and many dry stream channels, better known as coulees. As you travel through this region, you may stop to ponder the forces that created such an unusual landscape."

"Added to Steamboat Rock State Park in the 1970s, Northrup Canyon contains a small lake, a reliably flowing stream, and one of the few forested areas within the Columbia Plateau. Perhaps the canyon’s most notable feature is that it’s one of the most important roosts in Eastern Washington for wintering bald eagles. From late fall to early spring, up to two hundred of them spend the night in the canyon’s tall pines and firs after fishing in the nearby Columbia River and Banks Lake."

"The only natural forest in Grant County grows between the vertical walls of Northrup Canyon in Steamboat Rock State Park. The hike through the canyon is as rich in human history as it is in natural history. Remains of the Northrup family’s homestead and other human artifacts are hidden in nooks between the 200-foot-tall walls. As the canyon narrows and begins to climb toward Northrup Lake, the trail is characterized by views of rugged granite and towering basalt."

Northrup Canyon Reviews

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7/3/2009
To be fair, we hiked this in 90 degree heat, and the entire hike (minus a few blessed shady spots) was out in the open. The first section is on a wide gravel road and is fairly flat. We passed under a brief grouping of trees and even though we were covered in bug spray we were attacked by a ton of mosquitoes. Once you reached the abandoned cabins, you turn left and hike around one of the building to continue on a different section of narrower trail. There were lots of ups and downs, and twisting around boulders. We encountered the hill that I now refer to as my nemesis. It felt like it would never end, and it was very, very steep. At the top I found a shady spot and rested, while my husband continued to the lake. He said I didn't miss much. The way back was even hotter, and we were tired. Right at the end of the trail, there was a short uphill climb, in sand! This was an ok trail, but definitely only attempt in cool weather.
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5/18/2008
I went on this hike Sunday 5/18. It was not overly hot yet in eastern washington. It was in the Mid 80's and pleasant. Wild flowers where in bloom, lots of hawks, and eagles flying in the Valley. Great hike for Birders. Actually hiked past a large group of birders who went only as far as the Farm house. Be watchfull for rattle snakes, I came across two near the entrance to the old barn to the Right of the Farm House and my Hiking buddy came across one in the middle of the trail that was a bit aggitated! The lake was small at the end but it's clean and was fun for nice swim. I believe it was freshley stocked with fish and saw many jumping.
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3/6/2007
We have hiked this area several times including the entire top rim perimeter. We have always found it to be scenic, photogenic fascinating, and to include some wild life. Our last hike was during the winter spring thaw and the stream was running down most of the road, which just added to the adventure. The field and road by the House were also under water. We took the right or south canyon fork and followed the stream to a large seaonal waterfall approximately 100 feet high and roaring. Circumventing the falls to the left, we continued up the canyon to one of our favorite geocaches. We also explored a few small caves created under huge ballsalt boulders when they fell and some granite areas scoured out in older stream beds. In the meadow below the geocache, 28 turkeys were struting their stuff. In the fall we did this trip coming in from the top by the stone barn on the Grand Coulee - Hartline Road. It rained the whole day, we had paunchos and packs, and the grand kids said it was the best adventure ever. We hiked into the lake from where the jeep road crossed the creek, down to the house, than up the creek and back to the jeep. We probably saw a dozen deer and several turkeys and eagles. I never thought of hiking in the rain as fun before, but it did add a special element to the hike, and I think it also allowed us to see more deer than usual.
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11/25/2006
The canyon walls are very beautiful although the "lake" you arrive at is small. We came across a porcupine, so if you are hiking with your dogs, make sure they are on a leash. This hike would probably be best in late spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.
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4/7/2006
The trail through Northrup Canyon and up to Northrup Lake was a good hike with which to start our hiking season. The first half of the trail, a wide, rutted in places, road, for all practical purposes, was easy to travel. As advertised, the columnar basalt and the exposed granite walls hemmed us in on both sides. As we approached the boarded up home at the end of the first half of the hike, the trail/road was so muddy we walked up on the side of the trail along the creek. The second half of the trail was more difficult than I expected. The trail is narrow, winding through boulders and fallen trees and at times is quite steep. My son (6) and daughter (8) made it, but not without some complaining. It was not an "easy" hike for them though they enjoyed it. Northrup Lake is small but worth it. Eating lunch meant sitting on rocks and in the grass, but dirty backsides notwithstanding, we saw a great small lake. It's not wilderness but it's pretty much what we thought it would be.
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Northrup Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Electric City
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
6.6
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
4 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Mountain Biking
Additional Use
Steamboat Rock State Park, PO Box 730, Electric City 99123; (509) 6331304; stateparks.com/steamboat_rock.html
Local Contacts
USGS Steamboat Rock SE
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018