Enjoy the Majesty of Palouse Falls

The Majesty of Palouse Falls. Photo courtesy of Стивен Лю via  Wikimedia Commons

The Majesty of Palouse Falls. Photo courtesy of Стивен Лю via Wikimedia Commons

I think by most standards of the term, Palouse Falls definitely qualifies as what you could call a “hidden gem.” It is a striking and awe inspiring geologic feature located in the southeastern part of the state, a little over an hour from Pasco, Walla-Walla, or Sprague. If you find yourself nearby, it is definitely worth a trip, even if you are interested in just seeing the falls from the parking area, which offers a stunning view all by itself. However, I highly recommend taking at least a full afternoon to enjoy exploring the connected trail that allows you to not only appreciate some of the unique geology of the area and ford the Palouse River, but to practically stand at the mouth of these magnificent 200’ high roaring falls themselves, which is is a really special way to experience the natural beauty of this area.

The second overlook just up the trail from the parking lot offers another stunning view of the falls. Photo Courtesy  © Steven Pavlov  /  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa  /  CC BY-SA 4.0

The second overlook just up the trail from the parking lot offers another stunning view of the falls. Photo Courtesy © Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa / CC BY-SA 4.0

There is a day use area and camping available. Palouse Falls is a state park, and there is is a $10 day-use fee.

The hike itself is a manageable 2 miles round trip, but it is recommended you keep an eye on little ones if you bring them along. While the trail itself is not too treacherous, there are steep slopes and sheer cliffs all throughout the area, and crossing the river can be more or less difficult based on how high it is on any given day, so make sure to use appropriate caution, but I can safely say that the view at the end is worth it!

If you follow the main paved path in the direction of the waterfall, it eventually turns into a dirt trail. After getting another glorious look at the falls and a look back at the river, you continue on to a steep hill that leads to the river above the main falls. Where you cross the river there are several places where I saw families stopped to dip in the river and enjoy the many small waterfalls that carve through the riverbed. If you are feeling adventurous and don’t mind a bit of vertigo, from there you can walk all the way up past the jagged rock formations to the lip of Palouse Falls itself plunging nearly 200 feet into the massive pool below. So cool!

Looking down on the trail that leads to the mouth of the falls. Photo courtesy of Kid Clutch from RAIN CITY USA, via  Wikimedia Commons

Looking down on the trail that leads to the mouth of the falls. Photo courtesy of Kid Clutch from RAIN CITY USA, via Wikimedia Commons

Definitely make a point to check out this awesome area, it is a place that I feel is often times a little over-looked, even by long time Washington natives. Click the map below to check it out!

Click the image to see a map of the Palouse Falls State Park and recreation area!

Click the image to see a map of the Palouse Falls State Park and recreation area!

Ian Floyd