Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Thanks to a tenacious group of Washtucna 3rd and 4th graders, on February 12th, 2014, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill designating Palouse Falls as the state’s official waterfall.
Tucked into the southeast corner of Washington, Palouse Falls is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but its beauty is worth the drive. Recognized on numerous top 10 lists, the waterfall is at its best in early spring when the water levels are high or winter when ice formations form on the canyon walls.
Carved out in the last ice age, the waterfall plummets over 186’. The falls and the canyon are part of the channeled scablands that were formed when the Missoula floods washed over the state during the Pleistocene epoch. Interpretive signs around the park describe the geological history of the falls as well as the historical ties of the site with the Palouse Indians.
Hiking is at a minimal at this park, with only .5 mile devoted to trails, but what you really want to see is the falls. If you go in the spring, expect to see yellow bellied marmots who are mating along with all types of local wild flowers.
Distance from Yakima Valley: about 2.5 hours one way (click here for directions)
What to bring: a Discover Pass, camera, picnic lunch
Who should go: the whole family!
Cost: $10 or a Discover Pass (at $30, these passes provide unlimited access to all of Washington State Parks and Recreation Lands for a year)
When: Spring or Winter