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Thanks to a group of local, engaged elementary students, Palouse Falls is the official state waterfall of Washington. Dropping roughly 180 feet, Palouse Falls is a must see attraction. It is truly an impressive feature of the landscape. The park offers multiple views of the falls, and many interpretive signs enrich the experience.

  • Distance:

    Within 1.5 Hours

  • Difficulty Level:

    Day Tripper, Adventurer, Mountaineer

  • Seasons:

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

  • Elevation:

    768 feet

  • Pets:

    Yes

  • Status:

    Open

  • Reservations:

    N/A

  • ADA:

    Yes

  • Multi-Use:

    No

  • Motorized Vehicles :

    No

  • Your Public Lands

    Washington State Parks, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail (National Park Service)

  • What To Do
    • Hiking

      Official trails to viewpoints are paved, ADA accessible, and short, which makes this destination very family friendly. The expansive views of the falls and surrounding landscape are literally right outside your car door. Beyond the 0.1 mile viewpoint trail, all other trails are enter at your own risk. The area is steep and uneven with loose rock. Snakes are definitely in the area. Use your best judgement.

    • Camping

      The campground has 11 primitive tent-only sites available. One site is ADA accessible. There is one pit toilet available. Water is available typically from April to October. This area is heavily used so have an alternative location in mind if full (potentially Starbuck/ Lyons Ferry Marina KOA).

    • Kayaking

      While there is no access to the Palouse River from the park, confident paddlers can kayak up the Palouse River from Lyons Ferry State Park. It is approximately five miles to Palouse Falls from Lyons Ferry State Park. Again, use your best judgement. The current from the falls is extremely strong. Do not enter the plunge pool.

  • How To Get There

    Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained. Take HWY 125 north out of Walla Walla for three miles and take a left on Harvey Shaw/ Lyons Ferry Road (potentially unmarked). Follow for 42 miles then take a left on HWY 261. Cross the bridge over the Snake River and continue another five miles to Palouse Falls Road on your right. Turn on Palouse Falls Road, which ends at the park.

  • When To Go

    The park is open year-round. Winter hours for the day-use area are 8:30 am to dusk; summer hours are 6:30 am to dusk. The waterfall definitely wears the seasons well, so visit often. A day at the falls in the winter is much different than in the spring.

  • What To Expect

    Folks at the National Park Service are working toward a comprehensive trail system that would tell the story of the ice age floods. Palouse Falls would absolutely be one of the destinations along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail (as proposed), thus reinforcing the significance of the area. This area is already heavily utilized and can at times be pretty crowded. Consider off season usage or go early to beat the heat and the crowds in the summer. Palouse Falls is definitely worth the effort. As a personal note, of the many times my family has visited the falls, inevitably we observe folks not taking the hike at your own risk warning to heart. Please know that tragic accidents happen, and always err on the side of caution.

  • Fees

    The day use fee is $10, and the camping fee is $12 per night. There is an additional fee for an extra vehicle of $10 per night. Bring cash or check as there is no service for electronic forms of payment. Please bring exact change.

  • Permits

    A Discover Pass satisfies the day-use fee.

  • Regulations

    No camping in the parking lot either in an RV or vehicle is allowed. Otherwise, be good stewards of the land!

  • Amenities

    Vault toilets are available near the parking lot. Water is available April to October. There is one picnic shelter with a table and brazier (firepit) and seven uncovered braziers. An additional 15 unsheltered picnic tables and two acres of picnicking area is available to spread a blanket. Picnic sites are first come first served. For camping, there are 11 primitive campsites, one of which is ADA accessible. If the park is full, Lyons Ferry State Park is also a great place to recreate.

  • Wildlife Awareness

    We are all so fortunate to recreate in the Blue Mountains. So many opportunities exist to play outside whether in a national forest, wilderness area, on a Wild and Scenic River, and more! With these opportunities comes great responsibility to appreciate that we are mere visitors and should all take pride in being good stewards of the wild. Many animals call these protected places home, including moose, elk, bear, cougar, bobcat, and snakes to name a few. Take precautions to respect their home and understand the appropriate response should an encounter occur. Additionally, many plant species thrive in the Blue Mountains, so staying on trail is always good practice. Carry First Aid supplies to better respond to accidents or encounters, and always let others know where the day's adventure is taking you.

  • Field Notes

    Navigation: Consider downloading the Avenza Map app. This app allows users to upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay GPS data from the phone onto the map. The vehicle use maps (for trails allowing motorized vehicles) are the easiest to use. Otherwise, Geo Tracker offers similar tracking capabilities and additional details about your adventure. If no service, Geo Tracker will at least show your location. The Blue Mountains and surrounding area offer a remote recreating experience, and knowing your location is paramount to staying safe. Always make sure to bring paper maps. Tell others where your adventure is taking you and when you expect to return.

    Difficulty Level: Here is what we are thinking when we assign a difficulty level: Day Tripper--You don't have much experience in the area but want to get outside! Great for families of all ages. Adventurer--You know your way around the Blue Mountains and love a leisurely day outdoors. Mountaineer--You are ready for a challenge. Wild places excite you and sweat is the goal. Small children beware. Keep in mind some activities may apply to multiple difficulty levels based on usage.

    Pets: In general, pets are allowed on a leash and under control throughout jurisdictions. The only restrictions we have encountered are around swimming areas. As a best practice, be mindful of riparian habitat in general. You never know where a precious spawning area might be located. Pack it in and pack it out applies to your furry friend as well.

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