Canyons, Buttes, Erratics, Boulder Fields, and Gravel Bars

Discover the Remnants from Ice Age Floods on the Wenatchee Valley’s New Drivable Trail

Imagine a raging flood so powerful that towering waves studded with glacial icebergs toss giant boulders downstream like pebbles, and the landscape is irreversibly altered as eroded soil is carried more than 500 miles to the ocean. It might sound like a scene from a Hollywood movie – but it’s real. This happened in the Wenatchee Valley, three hours northeast of Seattle, between 13,000 and 18,000 years ago, as water from glacial Lake Missoula raged across the landscape at 65 miles-per-hour when the ice dam blocking its path gave way to pressure, releasing the violent deluge.

The raging floodwaters gave the Wenatchee Valley its unique geology and left a permanent mark on the local landscape with coulees, buttes, dry cataracts, boulder fields, erratics, giant current ripples, and gravel bars as a lasting legacy to the waters’ savage passage on its way to the Columbia Gorge and the Pacific Ocean.

Now, with the Wenatchee Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau’s new self-guided, drivable Ice Age Floods Geological Trail map, visitors can see and experience first-hand the remnants from the flood and how it shaped the Wenatchee Valley and central Washington landscape.

The two drivable trails, one a 30-mile loop around the Wenatchee Valley that lies within the other, a 164-mile loop around central Washington, start with the colorful illustrated Ice Age Floods Geological Trail map showing each of the 40 sightseeing stops along the trail routes. The map includes photos for easy identification and gives a brief description of each geological and flood related site. Driving directions from point to point are included to ensure trail followers catch each stop along the way.

The Ice Age Floods Geological Trail map, the basis for the self-guided tour, is available for free from the Wenatchee Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau by ordering online at, or by phone at toll free 800-572-7753 or 509-663-3723. The Trail map is also available at the Museum and other businesses in the Wenatchee Valley.
To learn about the Ice Age Flood itself, visit the Ice Age Floods Institute web site at

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