Why? Fine canyon, and the first horned lizard I ever saw.

Season: March through November, with hunters possible after mid-October.

Ease: Difficult, though a shorter out and back hike from either end would be less so.

The Lakeview Trail stretches 13 miles through open scabland and basalt, from Odessa to Pacific Lake. You can start at either end and see the area in two out and back day hikes, or arrange to do the whole thing in one through hike, with cars at each end. In case you can’t arrange the latter, I suggest hiking from the Pacific Lake end. In my opinion, it’s the more scenic hike, at least once the first ¾ mile or so is past and you come upon a couple of lakes that might be full of waterfowl spring or fall. After another mile or so, you get views of the Lake Creek Canyon that holds Bob’s Lakes. At the north end of the canyon is Delzer Falls, which has never had water when I’ve hiked along the canyon but shows white against the dark background rock as if there really was water cascading down into the first of the lakes.

There’s about 2 miles of hiking with the canyon in view, not to mention a lot of the surrounding scablands. To the south, especially from the other rim, you also can see the Odessa Towers, free standing small towers or buttes made of basalt.
When I hiked from Odessa, I was with a birder, and we identified Brewer’s sparrows, horned larks, and meadow larks. For flowers, there were yellow bells, butter cups, shooting stars, and some lomatia. We were a bit early for the bitterroot, which blooms in May, but its narrow succulent leaves were present in profusion. They wither before the plant blooms. This is one of the plants collected by Meriwether Lewis, and it’s named after him, Lewisia rediviva.

Lakeview is a trail to hike early or late, not during the heat of the summer.

Trail Notes: Much of the trail isn’t on the USGS topo maps, but the BLM map is fairly accurate. From the north, after about 1 ¾ mile, turn left at the junction with the motor trail. Go through the fence and continue straight through the next junction, then right at the one that follows. You’ll come to a gate in about 1/3 mile, at a flat area decorated with scattered old farm equipment that makes a good break spot. The trail heads straight south for 1 mile after the gate, along a fence. It then heads left for about half mile, over to the top of the canyon, above Bob’s Lakes, then plunges down into the basin. When you come out of the lake basin and near the top of the other side, take care not to turn right at the spur that heads down toward Lake Creek.

From Odessa, the trailhead is north out of the parking lot. After about 1/2 mile of hiking, turn left on an old road track that will stay near or under the power lines. From there, the trail continues as per the BLM map.
Do note that there usually is no water available except at some stock tanks at the southeast end of Bob’s Lakes. Bob's Lakes are dry.

Nature Note: I had a rather interesting wildlife sighting hiking from the Pacific Lake end, or at least an unusual one, since I’d never seen a horned lizard before. He or she was small, maybe two inches by one inch, and didn’t look exactly like anything. A somewhat spiked toad, perhaps, or a very fat lizard. Or a turtle that got way mixed up. Since there’s a picture of one on the back cover of the book Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t even have to look long and hard to identify it once I got home. I have since seen one at Twin Lakes, another scablands trail (hike 64).

Directions: South or Odessa trailhead: Turn north off State Highway 28 onto Birch Street. Cross the railroad tracks and turn left on Alice Avenue. Follow this bumpy, washboard road until it ends in the parking lot at the trailhead, just past the water treatment facility. These turns are signed.

North trailhead: Drive north from Odessa on State Highway 21. Go 2.8 miles and turn left on Lakeview Ranch Road. Drive 5.1 miles on gravel to Lakeview Ranch. The parking area is on left next to some shop buildings.

Information: BLM Spokane, (509) 536-1200.

Maps: The BLM maintains a web site, Under “Recreation,” click on “Recreation Sites,” then scroll down to “Pacific Lake/Lakeview” for information and a map.