Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee, Washington

Hwy 155, less than 2 miles north of Grand Coulee

Grand Coulee Dam was built across the Columbia River between 1934 and 1942 to generate electricity and support the irrigation of the Columbia Basin region. At the time it was built, it was the largest concrete structure in the world and remains one of the largest today. Additional power plants were added in the years since then, and today the dam generates more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity and its waters are used to irrigate more than 650,000 acres of farmland.

A visitor center at the dam provides a lot of information about the dam and its construction, historic photographs, models and other displays about the dam. During the summer, a laser light show is projected onto the face of the dam.

The reservoir behind the dam, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake and more routinely called Lake Roosevelt, is 130 miles long, stretching almost to the Canadian border. Today it is the heart of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

grand coulee dam

Grand Coulee Dam (N10A0278)

lake roosevelt

Grand Coulee Dam and Lake Roosevelt (N10A0268)
The 130-mile-long Lake Roosevelt is behind Grand Coulee Dam.

franklin roosevelt wheelchair

Franklin Roosevelt's Wheelchair (S05A0161)
President Roosevelt's legs were paralyzed as a result of his having contracted polio in 1921. He used this wheelchair when he visited the dam.

More About Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is primarily noteworthy for its water-related activities, including boating, fishing and swimming as well as for camping, hunting and short hikes in the adjacent lands. Although it is more than a bit off the beaten path in northeast Washington, there is road access in many locations.

The southern half of the lake borders the Colville Indian Reservation to the northwest, and a short stretch just north of the junction with the Spokane River borders on the Spokane Indian Reservation to the east. Remember to respect tribal laws when accessing Lake Roosevelt through tribal lands.

Related Sights

You may also like these sights along Lake Roosevelt:

Nearby Sights

While you're in the area, check out these sights:

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