You can’t wait for perfect weather to visit outdoor attractions in the Pacific Northwest. If you do — you’ll never see anything. That’s why on a drizzly day, driving back to Seattle from Pullman, Tove and I decided to stop and check out Palouse Falls.
Are there nicer days we could have visited Palouse Falls? Sure. But it’s not often we find ourselves on State Route 26, so with windshield wipers on full blast, Tove and I finally visited Palouse Falls, the official waterfall of the state of Washington.
I’ll be honest: Palouse Falls isn’t a simple drive from Seattle. That’s why Tove and I had never been there before: the distance. Located 236 miles from Seattle, Palouse Falls State Park is nearly four hours away (map). It’s not super close to any other popular spots in the area, either. The falls are 100 miles from Spokane, 74 miles from Kennewick, and 55 miles from Walla Walla.
But, that might be exactly what makes Palouse Falls so special: not everyone can easily get there. It’s definitely worth seeing, though. It is one of Washington’s most impressive waterfalls; if not the state’s most impressive. Surrounded by rolling hills, rigid basalt, and farmland, the waterfall seems somewhat out-of-place. It drops 198-feet off a cliff and then continues through a stunning canyon which was shaped thousands of years ago by massive floods.
There are several viewpoints near the parking lot of Palouse Falls State Park, so anyone can hop out to enjoy views of the gushing waterfall. If you’re into a more active experience, you can hike to the base of the falls (one of my hiking friends calls it “pretty extreme”), or simply stroll the half-mile ADA hiking trail. You can also find camping and picnic areas at Palouse Falls State Park.
NOTE: It costs $11.50 to enjoy any state park in Washington. If you visit state parks throughout the year, the best deal is a $35 Discover Pass (good for an entire year after purchase).
You can make plenty of excuses to not visit Palouse Falls: the weather isn’t ideal, it’s too far away, etc. I totally understand. We were in the same boat until recently. It’s a really long way for a day trip from Seattle, and it’s hard to pair with other getaways in Central or Eastern Washington. With that said; whatever it takes for you to experience the falls, you should make it happen. For us, standing in the drizzle on a long drive home across the state was worth every second.
Have you ever visited Palouse Falls? How was your experience? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to visit around the Emerald City!
If you’re not into biting off this much, you can visit these beautiful waterfalls closer to home: Snoqualmie Falls, Franklin Falls, Keekwulee Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and/or Twin Falls. In other words, there are no shortage of waterfalls near Seattle.