Steamboat Rock Loop

Grand Coulee, Washington 99133

Steamboat Rock Loop

Steamboat Rock Loop Professional Review and Guide

"Steamboat Rock is a spectacular basalt butte jutting up 800 feet from Banks Lake in central Washington. Generations before the Columbia River Irrigation Project pumped water from behind Grand Coulee Dam and created Banks Lake, Steamboat Rock was used as a landmark by Indians. Ditto for early settlers and modern pilots. Hikers can explore nearly 640 acres on top of the butte, from which they can contrast close views of the desert with the glaciated spectacle of the North Cascades in the distance.

This hike can be made virtually year-round, although early morning is best in summer to avoid the heat. April and May are the best months to explore this Columbia Basin scabrock country. Comfortable temperatures plus nesting waterfowl and eagles and a remarkable variety of wildflowers, from bitterroots to blooming cactus, provide pleasures hikers won’t find in alpine country. A band of mule deer resides on Steamboat. So do rattlesnakes."

Steamboat Rock Loop Reviews

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I felt that the guidebook underestimated the initial elevation gain of this hike. The trail on the way up is well marked, but is ridden with basalt rocks. Footing can be an issue. I recommend a good pair of boots. On our way down we saw a girl going up in flip flops...I would not recommend this. Once you make it to the top the views are great. You can lookout onto Banks and Thompson Lakes and since it was clear we could see the Cascades. The descent was tricky at parts. Really steep with nothing to grab on to. We saw one girl slip and fall. Take it slow and put a little room between yourself and others in your party (in case of slippage).
Hiked this on Saturday May 17. Not to hot Mid 80's. Nice flowers and views from the top. It is a good change from forest hiking and that was the purpose of this trip since there was still a hugh amount of snow in the cascades this year. (They where still skiing Alpental at snoqualmie pass this year on Memorial day!) A nice hike, with good views of banks lake, spring flowers, and hawks soaring along the rim right at eye level. There are even some deer on the top that we saw. Not much shade, and no water. Could be much hotter later in the year. As nice as this hike is don't miss Northrup Canyon just a few miles away. South across the road.
A pleasant change from forest/alpine hiking. Lots of wildlife and flowers.

Steamboat Rock Loop Photos

Trail Information

Grand Coulee
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
3 to 4 hours
March through November
1,600 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,300 feet
Top Elevation
Steamboat Rock State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Barker Canyon, Electric City, Steamboat Rock SE, Steamboat Rock SW
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018