When the waters from the Ice Age Floods poured out of the Grand Coulee, they quickly filled the Quincy Basin, overtopped the low points of Evergreen and Babcock Ridges, then dropped 850 feet in less than three miles to the Columbia River, carving the spectacular recessional cataracts we know today as Crater, Potholes, and Frenchman Coulees.
Just southwest of Quincy, Potholes Coulee—like Frenchman Coulee a few miles to the south—consists of 2 cataract-lined arms or alcoves separated by a basalt rib over 350 feet high, 1000 feet wide, and a mile and half long.
Ancient Lakes, four small disconnected lakes, lie at the head of the North Alcove, and feature a waterfall plunging 160 feet into the easternmost lake.
Much-larger Dusty Lake, lies at the head of the South Alcove. Both arms are lined with 200 to 300-foot basalt cliffs towering above the coulee floor.
The entire area is a well-known hiking destination and is becoming increasingly popular with backpackers. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this area, so you'll want to visit our entries for Ancient Lakes and Dusty Lake for more information on each.