Palouse Falls: Washington’s Waterfall

Although we’ve tried to see and experience as much as possible during our seven years in Washington, a big gap in our travels has been southeastern part of the state. We enjoyed our couple trips to Spokane and our wine tastings in Walla Walla, but we somehow never made it around to exploring the area in between!

As we planned our route to motorcycle from Spanaway, Washington to our new home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, we decided to intentionally cross southern Washington and finally see a few of the places that have long been on our list.

One of these spots was Palouse Falls State Park in LaCrosse, Washington.

Carved more than 13,000 years ago, Palouse Falls is among the last active waterfalls on the Ice Age floods path. This natural wonder was named Washington’s state waterfall in 2014, when the state Legislature passed a bill written by local schoolchildren, who advocated for the designation.

Although we read that the park offered a ‘remote recreational experience,’ I was not expecting the mile-long gravel entrance to the park. We both had several scary moments sliding downhill, trying very hard to stay off the brakes, as we wound our way back to the parking area. We made it, but I probably wouldn’t visit on my motorcycle again – ATVs and cars are much more suitable!

There’s a shaded green space between the upper and lower parking areas where you can purchase a day pass for the park if you don’t have a Discover Pass already. We changed out of our gear, sought out the primitive amenities, and then headed to the first of the three viewing areas of the falls.

Happily there was water – sometimes the falls are a little less impressive at the end of summer when things are drying up, but we could clearly see the 200-foot drop across the gorge. I really enjoyed the basalt columns surrounding the falls – as we looked to the left, we could see the columns very clearly and to the right, we could see the river disappearing into the canyon.

I initially thought the direct view from the lower parking area would be the best, but the sun was not cooperating at that hour of the morning. The falls face west and are likely much better suited to afternoon photography.

That said, Brian got a great shot from the highest and final viewpoint, Fryxell Overlook, where we had panoramic views of the falls and Palouse River Canyon.

We only stayed about an hour – this was the first stop of our day and we had to keep moving east – but it was a good one. It only took us seven years, but we finally crossed Washington’s waterfall off our list!

One thought on “Palouse Falls: Washington’s Waterfall

  1. Pingback: Motorcycling Idaho’s Highway 12 – Heather's Compass

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