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Exploring the Lenore Caves in Eastern Washington

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Kimberly enjoys sharing her love of camping and outdoor adventures. Spending time in nature is her all-time favorite, happy place!

Welcome to the Trailhead

Welcome to the Trailhead

My traveling partner (aka husband) and I went on an adventure to the Lake Lenore Caves during the fall of 2021. We traveled to Soap Lake, Washington, and camped at the Smokiam RV Resort (beautiful accommodations!). The Lenore Caves were just 8 minutes (6.7 miles) via WA-17 N from the Smokiam RV Resort.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Lake Lenore

Lake Lenore

Tourist Attraction

The Lake Lenore Caves were created by glacial flooding during the Great Missoula Flood as the water pried chunks of basalt from the walls of the Coulee. After the waters drew back and the caves had formed, early native people used these areas as shelters.

Today the caves are a tourist attraction and make a perfect adventure for any nature lover. The caves themselves are shallow, and the 1.5-mile round trip trail is rugged and narrows in several places. One must navigate an incline and rock-chiseled stairs on their way up and watch for stumbling debris on the descent.

Beware of Venomous Snakes

I have provided some information regarding the Western Rattlesnake with excerpts from CPR Seattle, an online website sharing the common Eastern Washington snake, the Western Rattlesnake. It may be encountered in proximity to their dens. These rattlers can often be found among rocks in areas open to sun exposure. Spring and fall hikers may find them out and active at dusk and dawn as the snakes move between hibernation spots.

Note that rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike, nor do they always strike after they rattle. Rattlesnakes do not prey on humans; therefore, they will not be likely to bite a human unless they feel threatened.

Try to avoid areas where snakes hide, such as under rocks and logs. Do not handle any snake unless you have adequate training. Do not harass or threaten any snake. Use hiking poles or sticks to tap and probe ahead of your path in snake country. Wear long pants (or protective chaps) and boots to minimize contact with wildlife.

Advice from a RATTLESNAKE

Be flexible

Keep a low profile

Think before you strike

Soak up the sun

Shed your old ways

Be thick-skinned

Don't get rattled!

— Your True Nature

Washington State Discovery Pass

A Washington State Discovery Pass is required for your entrance to the caves.

The parking area was ample, and a restroom facility was onsite. We quickly geared up with plenty of fluids in our backpacks to stay hydrated, made sure we secured our snake chaps over our pants and switched out our shoes for boots.

We took plenty of pictures and enjoyed the many beautiful views along the trail.

"I want to live in the CAVE of your SMILE!"

— Utkarsh jain

Climbing Elevation

Visiting these caves was on my bucket list of sights and adventures to seize for many years. However, I had a completely different vision about the caves versus how they represented themselves.

I pictured huge caverns at lower elevations that could be easily accessed from a ground level. I did not realize that the cave's elevation was a gain of 200 feet, with the highest point being 1,300 feet tall. Realizing I was about to climb up a rugged rock cliff was quite a surprise for me.

The other revelation was that these caves were relatively shallow and much smaller than I had anticipated, unlike my vision of huge caverns. Nonetheless, the experience as a whole was magnificent.

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."

— Joseph Campbell

Holding up the rock!

Holding up the rock!

A Bit Unstable on My Feet

Achieving this hike meant so much more than just the average adventurer. I am a Fibromyalgia Warrior, and my body does not always cooperate reasonably with me. On this particular day, I was feeling a bit shaky and dizzy. Bless my husband for paving the way ahead of me on the trail and allowing me to grab hold of his backpack straps when I needed a bit more stability in my gait.

We took our time navigating the trail to the caves. We had full intentions to see all seven of these ancient sights; however, we came to an area in the path that was too daunting to continue while fighting my instability and dizziness while hiking. So we had to make amends because it was too sketchy to continue. At that point, we turned around and began making our way back to the parking lot area. I believe the rest of the trail would have been manageable for people who are not challenged by heights, rock cliffs, and dizziness.

Even so, I felt accomplished in my ability to make it as far as I did. Seeing the caves was incredible, but the outward views were astounding and awe-inspiring. It was such a fulfilling adventure.

Welcome out of the cave, my friend. It's a bit colder out here, but the stars are just beautiful.

— Plato

Plan Your Trip

On this day, the weather was beautiful. The desert air was a bit cool but refreshing. The heavy scent of sagebrush fully enveloped us and added to the experience.

If you are up for a hike in the rugged rock clifts of the Eastern Washington desert, then I highly recommend you add this to your list of upcoming adventures. There are also several sights to see while you are in the area, such as Dry Falls and Summer Falls.

I hope you'll find your trip to be as rewarding and enjoyable as we did.

Ridgetop View of Lake Lenore

Ridgetop View of Lake Lenore

Directions to Lake Lenore Caves

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Nana