Last Updated on June 19, 2023

The Vantage Sand Dunes are a unique and fascinating natural landscape located in Eastern Washington.

The dunes are the result of massive floods that occurred thousands of years ago, and they offer a variety of hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Vantage Sand Dunes are located just east of Frenchman Coulee, a dramatic canyon carved by the Columbia River. The dunes are about 1,000 acres in size, and they range in height from 20 to 100 feet. The sand is a fine, white sand that is perfect for sandboarding and hiking.

In addition to hiking and sandboarding, the Vantage Sand Dunes are also a popular spot for rock climbing. The cliffs in the area offer a variety of climbing routes for both beginners and experienced climbers.

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Vantage Sand Dunes
Vantage Sand Dunes

Visiting Echo Basin & Vantage Sand Dunes

Allocate enough time to fully appreciate the natural wonders and engage in various activities during your visit to Echo Basin and Vantage Sand Dunes.

The shorter loop covers approximately 2.75 miles, providing a condensed yet rewarding experience.

The longer loop, spanning around 5 miles, offers a more extensive adventure with diverse landscapes and cross-country travel.

Shorter Loop (2.75 miles)

Embark on the shorter loop for a condensed yet rewarding adventure through Echo Basin and Vantage Sand Dunes. This 2.75-mile loop showcases the best of the area’s diverse landscapes, including sand dunes, coulees, and forests.

As you traverse the trail, you’ll be captivated by the Punch Bowl, a remarkable hole formed by the powerful forces of the Ice Age floods.

Suitable for all skill levels, this loop is perfect for families with children or those seeking a shorter excursion.

With an approximate completion time of 2 hours, you can immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this picturesque route.

The highlights of the shorter loop include:

Sand dunes: Experience the enchantment of various sand dunes, including the remarkable Punch Bowl formation.

Coulees: Traverse through several coulees, magnificent deep valleys shaped by the colossal Ice Age floods.

Forests: Journey through lush forests that provide a habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species.

Longer Loop (5 miles)

For those seeking a more extensive and challenging hike, the longer loop in Echo Basin and Vantage Sand Dunes is an excellent choice.

Spanning 5 miles, this loop takes you through a multitude of captivating landscapes, including sand dunes, coulees, forests, and even involves some cross-country travel.

With a moderate to challenging difficulty level, the longer loop is best suited for hikers in good physical condition seeking a thrilling outdoor experience. Plan for approximately 4 hours to complete this invigorating journey.

The highlights of the longer loop include:

Sand dunes: Immerse yourself in the beauty of diverse sand dunes, including the awe-inspiring Punch Bowl formation.

Coulees: Traverse through several coulees, majestic deep valleys carved by the powerful forces of the Ice Age floods.

Forests: Explore enchanting forests teeming with a wide array of plant and animal life.

Cross-country travel: Challenge yourself with some cross-country travel, requiring navigation skills to navigate through the captivating terrain.

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit the Vantage Sand Dunes and Echo Basin is in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild. The area can be hot and dry in the summer, so it is best to avoid visiting during this time.

How to get there:

The Vantage Sand Dunes and Echo Basin are located near Vantage, Washington. From Interstate 90, take the Silica Road exit and follow the signs to the Vantage Sand Dunes.


See more: Washington State Sand Dunes


Frenchman Coulee Map
Frenchman Coulee Map

Frenchman Coulee

Frenchman Coulee is a geological feature in Eastern Washington that was formed by the Missoula Floods, a series of catastrophic floods that occurred over 15,000 years ago. The coulee is a deep, narrow canyon that is home to a variety of geological features, including sand dunes, coulees, and plunge pools. The area is also popular for rock climbing.

History

The Frenchman Coulee was formed by the Missoula Floods, a series of catastrophic floods that occurred over 15,000 years ago. The floods were caused by the collapse of a large ice dam in Montana, which released a massive amount of water that flowed through Eastern Washington. The water was so powerful that it carved out the Frenchman Coulee and other coulees in the area.

The Missoula Floods were some of the largest floods in Earth’s history. They were caused by the rapid melting of a large ice dam that held back a massive lake in Montana. The lake was formed by the melting of glaciers during the last ice age. When the dam collapsed, the lake’s water rushed out in a series of powerful floods.

The floods traveled at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and carried with them rocks, trees, and other debris. They scoured the landscape, carving out coulees, canyons, and other geological features. The Frenchman Coulee is one of the most impressive features that was formed by the Missoula Floods.

Geology

The Frenchman Coulee is a deep, narrow canyon that is about 10 miles long and up to 1,000 feet deep. The walls of the coulee are composed of basalt, which is a type of volcanic rock. The coulee is also home to a variety of other geological features, including sand dunes, coulees, and plunge pools.

The basalt in the Frenchman Coulee was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions that occurred about 15 million years ago. The eruptions created a large lava field, which was later eroded by the Missoula Floods. The sand dunes in the coulee were formed by the wind. The plunge pools were formed when the Missoula Floods flowed over the cliffs at the head of the coulee.

Coulees

A coulee is a deep, narrow valley that was formed by water erosion. Coulees are typically formed when a river or stream cuts through a layer of soft rock, such as shale or sandstone. The Frenchman Coulee was formed when the Missoula Floods flowed through a layer of soft basalt

Plunge pools

A plunge pool is a deep hole that is formed when water falls from a cliff. The plunge pools in the Frenchman Coulee were formed when the Missoula Floods flowed over the cliffs at the head of the coulee.

The water created a powerful vortex as it fell, which scoured the bedrock and created the deep holes.



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Slip Face Sandboards Diamondback Board
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Diamond Back Terrain Sandboard
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Slip Face Sandboard Kestrel WingTail
Slip Face Sandboards’
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