|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2009
Washington, Arkansas, and Georgia are host to these three life-list phenomena treks.
WASHINGTON'S DRY FALLS
View remnants of the largest waterfall on earth.
At 3.5 miles wide and 400 feet tall, Dry Falls was once the greatest waterfall in the world. Niagara–one mile wide and 165 feet tall–is only a quarter of that size. The falls were powered by Ice Age floods 15,000 years ago; a massive glacial dam collapsed and sent a 3,000-square-mile lake, once covering northwest Montana, hurtling toward the Pacific. Water rushed at 65 miles per hour over the crescent-shaped precipice for several thousand years. Today, a towering basalt plateau remains–and an oasis of desert lakes.
Hop on the Umatilla Rock Trail in Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park two hours east of Spokane. This 2.6-mile path climbs 300 feet to the top of Dry Falls and loops around a tall rock outcropping, named after the native Umatilla. The trail blends into the shrubby, craggy landscape, making it hard to follow in places. At the top, you'll stand 600 feet above what was once a plunge pool where swirling currents carved a natural lake. parks.wa.gov