The Grand Coulee Dam area is a unique combination of cities and counties, lakes and climates, topography and geology. There are four small towns, ranging in population from 200 to 1,200 that stretch northeast to southwest for seven miles. These towns are best known as the home of the Grand Coulee Dam (built in 1933 as part of the Columbia River Basin Irrigation Project) but there is so much more to the area than just the Dam. The region is also home to three large lakes, a National Park Service Recreation Area, a State Park, the intersecting of four counties, and the northern part of the area is in on the southern end of the Colville Tribes reservation land. 




Photo courtesy of Scott Hunter.




Grand Coulee Dam area provides an abundance of stable sunny days throughout much of the year. The coolest month of the year is typically December with a low temperature of 22 F. The warmest month of the year is typically July with a high temperature of 87 F.   


Average Temperature:

January – High 33 F, Low 22 F

July – High 87 F, Low 58 F



January Rainfall – 1.06 inches

July Rainfall – .64 inches



The Weather Channel




       Photo courtesy of Scott Hunter.



The Grand Coulee Dam area provides a variety of natural locations of interest. Key among them the Grand Coulee itself, Steamboat Rock State Park, Spring Canyon National Recreation Area on Lake Roosevelt, the downriver trail along Rufus Woods Lake and the shorelines of the area lakes. Don’t miss the hike to the top of Steamboat Rock for panoramic views. A boat ride on any of the local lakes provides access to private coves and beaches with their pristine and isolated beauty.

The Dam is the largest concrete structure and largest electric-producing facility in the United States. The Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) manages the property. It offers a wide variety of opportunities for both exterior and interior shots, but permits are needed from the USBR for interior filming. The Dam is particularly dramatic looking in the spring when the waters of the Columbia River spill down the 800 foot long face. Nightly laser light shows are projected onto the the Dam from Memorial Day through the end of September, to include a Fourth of July pyrotechnic show that is launched from the top.


Lake Roosevelt, the body of water that forms behind the Grand Coulee Dam, stretches for over 150 miles from the Grand Coulee area north to the Canadian border. Spring Canyon campground, a National Park Service Recreation area, is situated on the southwest shoreline of Lake Roosevelt and provides a perfect location for filming of pine and deciduous trees on an easily accessible shoreline.



       Photo courtesy of Scott Hunter.



Lake Rufus Woods, the stretch of the Columbia River that runs downriver between the Grand Coulee Dam and Chief Joseph Dam offers abundant locations to catch fishermen both on the shoreline and in boats. Banks Lake, the 27 mile long reservoir fed by the waters of Lake Roosevelt, is the beginning of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project and waters from Banks Lake help irrigate the upper Columbia Basin and eventually find their way into the Columbia River gorge near Pasco, WA. The campground at Steamboat Rock State Park is located approximately 10 miles from the north end of the lake. The hike to the top of Steamboat Rock provides views for miles in all directions and is a perfect place to film the topography of the area.


The region, formed millions of years ago by the great Missoula Floods, is a topographical and geological treasure trove. Granite and basalt rock formations carved by water have created a coulee of unprecedented beauty; particularly in the early morning and late afternoon the light playing off the walls is exceptionally colorful.

A number of historical buildings in Coulee Dam were built during the time the Dam was under construction (early 1930s) and offer a classic WPA look; Coulee Dam City Hall and the current location of the Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union are excellent examples of that period’s architectural style. Also the Colville Tribal Museum and the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor’s Center are excellent options for filming opportunities.

Other unique features of the area are the quickly changing scenery.  Rolling wheat fields of the upper plateau border semi-arid channeled scablands that meet pine forests and then large bodies of water, all within a few miles of each other. A film crew could easily capture many different vistas in a very short amount of time.




 Photo courtesy of Scott Hunter.

  • Local Film Liaison – Peggy Nevsimal, Manager, Chamber of Commerce, (509) 633-3074,
  • Agency that issues permits and costs – Agency depends on the jurisdiction for the cities of Coulee Dam, Electric City, Elmer City and Grand Coulee. Contact the City Clerk of each city.
  • Police or Sheriff’s Department or agency that handles traffic control – Agency will depend on individual jurisdiction for the cities of Coulee Dam, Electric City, Elmer City and Grand Coulee. Contact the City Clerk of each city.
  • Bureau of Reclamation – Lynne Brougher, Public Information Officer, (509) 633-9503,  



  • Grand Coulee area is approximately 80 miles from the Spokane International Airport
  • Grand Coulee area is approximately 98 miles from Pangborn Memorial Airport
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  • The City of Spokane is 90 miles east with a population of 300,000
  • The City of Wenatchee is 95 miles southwest with a population of 45,000



 Photo courtesy of Scott Hunter.


Electric City


Grand Coulee


Coulee Dam




In an effort to expand our Reel Scout Location Database, we are doing a call for a “Gas Stations & Truck Stops.” If you have a gas station or a truck stop anywhere in Washington State and are open to filming, you can list your property in our location database by sending photos to Please include address and contact information. Attach photos as a JPEG no larger than 1MB per photo.