Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail & Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge
Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail commemorates a dramatic series of events. Toward the end of the last Ice Age, a lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet formed a dam that blocked the Clark Fork River at present-day Sandpoint, Idaho, creating a massive lake 200 miles long and up to 2,000 feet deep. The ice dam broke catastrophically, and Glacial Lake Missoula, which contained more than 500 cubic miles of water, drained within a matter of days. An enormous flood of water, ice, and debris charged westward along established drainages and across dry land, covering 16,000 square miles. Eventually, the flood waters reached the Pacific Ocean and continued hundreds of miles beyond the shoreline. This process happened many times, each time carving and reshaping the land. Today, evidence of the immense floods remains in many forms including high water lines, huge current dunes, boulders transported hundreds of miles, giant coulees and dry falls, and enormous gravel bars. These reminders of the floods exist across the states of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 18,217 acres of the Channeled Scablands created by the Ice Age Floods. The powerful forces of volcanism, glaciation, and some of the largest floods in geological history have combined to forge a distinct environment. The combination of basalt outcrops, flood-eroded channels, and ponderosa pine forests infused in a diverse landscape of over 130 marshes, wetlands, and lakes create an environment of aesthetic beauty as well as high-quality wildlife habitat.
Join Dr. Gary Ford, retired soil scientist and President of the Ice Age Floods Institute, on a tour of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to study the flood evidence left behind after the last Ice Age. This session will include a presentation at the visitor center and then a drive along the refuge’s auto route with stops along the way to look for evidence of the ice age floods.
Please note: This tour is contingent upon weather permitting.
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Minimum Number of Participants: 15
Travel: Bus pick-up at the Davenport Grand. Board at 8:00am; return to hotel by 4:30pm.
Lunch: Boxed lunch provided.
Suggested Gear: Weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes