Dry Falls is one of the greatest geological wonders in North America — a former waterfall that now stands as a dry cliff 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. When active, this waterfall was ten times larger than Niagara Falls.
The falls were created following the catastrophic collapse of an enormous ice-dam holding back the waters of what has been named “Glacier Lake Missoula”. Water covering three thousand square miles of northwest Montana was blocked behind a glacial dam until the rising lake penetrated, lifted and then blew out the ice dam.
What is now know as the Missoula Flood ran through the Idaho panhandle, the Spokane River Valley, much of eastern Washington and into Oregon, flooding areas as far west as Portland under 400 feet of water.
The Dry Falls Interpretive Center is in Sun Lakes State Park, Coulee City, WA 99115 and may be reached by phone at 509-632-5214. The Interpretive Center is located two miles north of the main park on Highway 17 and is staffed from mid-May through the end of September from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is by donation.
To learn more about the Great Flood, we picked up the video, NOVA: Mystery of the Megaflood (2005) described on Amazon as “It was the greatest flood of the past two million years, and it posed a giant scientific riddle. A maverick geologist became convinced that thousand-foot-deep floodwaters had scoured out vast areas of the American northwest near the end of the last ice age.
Mainstream scientists scorned his theory while he searched patiently for answers to what could have triggered such an inconceivably violent event. Finally, an ingenious solution silenced the skeptics: traces of an enormous ice dam half a mile high, which had blocked a valley in present-day Montana and created an enormous lake behind it.
With the help of stunningly realistic animation, NOVA takes viewers back to the Ice Age to reveal what happened when the dam broke, unleashing a titanic flood that swept herds of woolly mammoth and everything else into oblivion. The special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. ”
See the full list of places that we visited during our Washington / Oregon / California road trip