Northrup Canyon

Grand Coulee, Washington 99133

Northrup Canyon

Northrup Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"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."

Northrup Canyon Reviews

3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
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.
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.

Northrup Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Grand Coulee
Nearby City
580 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2.5 hours
Best March through November
Steamboat Rock State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Steamboat Rock Southeast
Local Maps