Great Escapes: Grand Coulee Dam boasts laser light show
By Tim Clinton
If a laser light show on a spillway sounds intriguing, then Grand Coulee Dam is the place to go.
The gigantic concrete structure in north central Washington and its 1,000,000 cubic feet per second spillway provide the screen for a show nightly from Memorial Day Weekend through Sept. 30.
The water spilling over is ramped up to full capacity and flooded with light starting at 8:30 p.m. daily throughout the month of September.
It begins at 10 p.m. Memorial Day Weekend through July 31 to make sure it is dark enough out to see the lights and starts at 9:30 p.m. in the month of August.
But day or night the Grand Coulee Dam itself is worth a look, including from Crown Point State Park.
The dam is the second biggest concrete structure in the world and the largest producer of electricity in the United States at 20.24 trillion watt hours per year.
It contains enough concrete to make a sidewalk four inches thick, four feet wide and 50,000 miles long.
It took from 1933 through 1942 to complete the project on the Columbia River.
Aside from creating electricity it holds back enough water to form Roosevelt Lake, the largest in the Northwest quarter of the United States.
It also reroutes enough water to make Banks Lake, which floods the geologic Grand Coulee.
Both lakes provide numerous recreational opportunities.
The water goes on from Banks Lake to irrigate crops in the Columbia Basin to the south.
The Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center is open every day year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
It features interactive exhibits.
Free guided tours of the dam are given from April through the month of October.
Grand Coulee Dam is at the convergence of Highway 155 between Coulee City and Omak and Highway 174 between Bridgeport and Wilbur.
Crown Point State Park and its overlook is located just north of the town of Grand Coulee on Highway 174.
Call (509) 633-9507 for more information on the Grand Coulee Dam.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, there is no laser show this year, and the visitor center at the dam is not open. No tours are availalble. But the fishing is great and we have great hiking.