Ancient Lakes is a great choice for a first of the year backpacking trip or dayhike, before Eastern Washington heats up. Go in winter (while it snows, usually it is minimal and just freezes) or in early Spring, before April. Take all your water with you, the lakes water isn’t necessarily safe due to agricultural runoff from above.
The trail to the lakes is mostly flat, following the high ridge.
The view of the 3 lakes comes quickly.
Looking back at the way to the trailhead.
Looking across the farthest lake, the waterfall comes from a farm above.
We set up camp between 2 of the lakes, far across in the middle are the tents. We walked around the biggest lake.
The water levels vary on the year.
There is a trail around the lake to the waterfall, it is about half way up from the lake. The waterfall is a neat side trip.
With a full day after we got there, we hiked around all the lakes and checked out other paths nearby, then retired for an early evening in camp and enjoyed the sun setting, with views towards the Columbia River. That night we listened to the coyotes howling and the wind blowing. We saw no one else that trip and it was quite peaceful.