Potholes State Park

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The Potholes are the defining geologic feature of this eastern Washington park.  A series of Ice Age flood-carved depressions in the earth, combined with the dynamics of the O’Sullivan Dam, created hundreds of tiny islands surrounded by “pothole” lakes. 

These little lakes make up half the O’Sullivan Reservoir, and Potholes State Park lies on the other side, where visitors find the lakes deeper and welcoming to boaters, fishers and swimmers. 

The year-round fishing at Potholes is superb, with abundant yellow perch, crappie, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and walleye. But if you would rather be in the water on a hot, eastern Washington day, swimming and water sports abound. Think waterskiing, kayaking and paddle-boarding.  

More into birding than fishing? Fill your field journal on a visit to the Potholes lakes and islands. Sandhill cranes and waterfowl come through in late February; raptors in April; sage thrasher, lark sparrow and burrowing and long-eared owls arrive in May, along with shorebirds. When water levels drop in August, the mud flats beacon sandpipers, stilts, plovers and curlews. 

If you have a sleeping bag, eastern Washington is the place to sleep under the stars, or you can rent a cute cabin in the primitive campground. Either way, you’ll have fun and learn about natural history and geology at this fascinating park.  

Park features

Potholes State Park is a 775-acre camping park with 6,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on O'Sullivan Reservoir. This body of water is often confused with the Pothole Lakes themselves, which are a 30- to 45-minute drive from the park. The terrain is desert with freshwater marshes.

  1. Activities
  2. Boating
  3. Camping
  4. History
  5. Maps

ADA amenities/facilities

  • Campground
  • Restroom

Picnic & day-use facilities

The park provides three picnic shelters with four tables each, plus 73 unsheltered picnic tables in a lawned, well-shaded area. All day-use facilities are first come, first served. Restrooms are available in the day-use area, located on the banks of the reservoir.



  • 3 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features

  • 60 feet of dock
  • Boating
  • Four boat ramps
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Personal watercraft use
  • Swimming
  • Water skiing
  • White-water kayaking

Other activities & features

  • Bird watching
  • Two volleyball fields
  • Horseshoe pit
  • Wildlife viewing

Additional information

  • Volleyball players must bring their own equipment.
  • A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.