Mileage: 1.3+ miles RT (105 acres to explore)
Elevation Gain/Highest: 150/925ft
Map: USGS Palouse Falls, Palouse Falls website
Favorite Eats After Hike: Pack A Cooler
8/2014 This was part of a 2 day road trip I took to Eastern Washington to explore some places I had on my list like the Lenore Lake Caves and Gingko Petrified Forest State Park. I hit those first early in the day and then headed over to watch the sun go down at Palouse Falls State Park. I can’t believe I lived over here for 6 years and never visited the falls.
The trailhead is located within the state park campground, and the tent only spots are first come, first serve. I opted to continue on towards Walla Walla and stayed at a KOA. It was a very hot summer and I wanted to be able to take a shower! Anyway, on with the hike.
I began out on the main trail that runs the rim above the falls. The area is mostly flat and you have great views of the falls from above and down the canyon the river flows in.
Closer to the campground there is a short ADA trail with fences but here there is nothing but common sense to keep you from falling as you walk along the canyon edge.
From here, I could see trail along the canyon wall and over by the drop of the falls and knew I would try and see how far I could get to that area.
The trail (more like an old service road) continues along the rim toward the upper part of the Palouse River and you can gaze down at the upper falls area.
I followed this to its end where it meets the railroad tracks, turned right along a fence and dropped down on scree to the canyon floor to follow a trail that takes you into this area.
There are several trails that wander here, first I took one that followed the river up and then came back down and followed the canyon wall to the where the main falls cascades over the rim of the canyon.
This is a bit if a scramble and although the trail continued, I only went as far as I was comfortable because I knew one step on loose rock and it would be dramatic fall to the river bed below.
Coming back, I walked about a bit around the large upright shards of boulder that announce the river’s descent and listened to the roar of the falls as they dropped almost 200ft down. I imagined what it would have been like years ago when the river was at the rim level. It was obvious the river was not running as high as it usually was with it being the end of summer but it was still and amazing experience.