Desert Wildlife Area

Moses Lake, Washington

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The Desert Wildlife Area encompasses 35,100 acres. This was a true desert prior to the coming of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Black sands (ground-up basalt) formed sand dunes, which were very actively moving until recent times. The natural basin now serves as a collector for irrigation water from upslope farmlands. Most of this water is collected in the Winchester and Frenchman Hills Wasteways. The bulk of the land that comprises the Desert Wildlife Area borders both sides of the Winchester Wasteway—the main channel brings water from the Soap Lake area to the north down to the Potholes area basin and its surrounding farmland.

Desert Wildlife Area Professional Review and Guide

"The Desert Wildlife Area encompasses 35,100 acres. This was a true desert prior to the coming of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Black sands (ground-up basalt) formed sand dunes, which were very actively moving until recent times. The natural basin now serves as a collector for irrigation water from upslope farmlands.

Most of this water is collected in the Winchester and Frenchman Hills Wasteways. The bulk of the land that comprises the Desert Wildlife Area borders both sides of the Winchester Wasteway—the main channel brings water from the Soap Lake area to the north down to the Potholes area basin and its surrounding farmland."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Moses Lake
Distance: 6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Season: October through March
Trailhead Elevation: 1,100 feet
Top Elevation: 1,150 feet
Local Contacts: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Local Maps: Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Moses Lake
Driving Directions: Directions to Desert Wildlife Area

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May 2018