Palouse Falls State Park
The Palouse River runs through a narrow cataract and drops 200 feet to a churning bowl. From there, the current moves swiftly, through a winding gorge of columnar basalt, to its southern end at the mighty Snake River.
All Washingtonians, visitors to the region and Ice Age floods fans should see Palouse Falls State Park at least once in their lifetime.
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.
Palouse Falls is an artist’s dream, and many a painter or shutterbug has set up an easel or camera and tripod to capture the falls in the changing light. Others make the trip in all four seasons, when the water is high, low or frozen, because they understand that once is not enough when it comes to seeing Washington’s own state waterfall.
This 94-acre park has limited, first-come, first-served tent camping and is known as an ideal picnic and birding spot.
The park offers three distinct views of the falls. The lower viewpoint provides a direct view; it is reached by a set of steps from the main day-use area adjacent to the parking lot. The second, at the end of a paved interpretive path, tells the story of the secluded canyon. Both the interpretive path and gravel secondary parking area lead to the third and highest viewpoint, the Fryxell Overlook, offering panoramic views of the falls and Palouse River Canyon.
Visitors should be prepared for a remote recreational experience. There is no phone service at the park, and staff and volunteer hosts are not always available.
Please follow Leave No Trace principles, and experience this viewshed from the designated, developed areas. Your positive stewardship protects cultural and natural resources.
Automated pay station: This park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass and boat launch permit.
Parking at Palouse Falls State Park is limited. Expect long waits on weekends and holidays. Trailer and RV parking is not possible during these times; turnarounds do not exist, and RVs or trailers will not be permitted entrance into the park. Nearby Lyons Ferry State Park offers swimming and picnicking.
Tips for your visit to Palouse Falls:
- Bring exact cash or check for payment
- Take along plenty of water
- Be prepared for extreme heat
- Plan ahead for potential wait times
- Camping is very limited; have a second option
- 0.1-mile walking path
- Picnic area
Use our interactive ADA recreation map to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities.
Picnic & day-use facilities
The park provides one picnic shelter with a table and brazier, seven uncovered braziers, 15 unsheltered picnic tables, and 2 acres of picnicking area. Picnic sites are first come, first served. This park is a cash or check only location. Due to technical issues no credit card kiosk is available.
- 0.1 mile ADA walking path
Other activities & features
- Bird watching
- Waterfall viewing
- Wildlife viewing
There are interpretive panels throughout the park about the Ice Age floods and the creation of the canyon.
- The 0.1-mile ADA-accessible path overlooks the falls.
- Printable park brochure (PDF).
This park has a tent-only campground with 11 primitive campsites and a pit toilet. One tent site is ADA accessible. Each space can accommodate up to two tents and four people. Sites have no hookups. Each space includes a picnic table and fire pit. Braziers are available. Drinking water is available from April to October. All campsites are first come, first served. For information call the park at (509) 646-9218.
Check-in time is 2:30 p.m.
Check-out time is 1 p.m.
For fee information, check out our camping rates page. Please note that campsite fees are payable on site with cash or check only. Camping fees include one vehicle only. All additional overnight vehicles will need to pay an extra vehicle fee of $10 per night.
Created by the Ice Age floods from glacial Lake Missoula more than 13,000 years ago, Palouse Falls is one of few active waterfall left along this massive glacial flood path. Perched within the dramatic flood-carved Palouse River Canyon, Palouse Falls is one of the key destinations along the Ice Age Floods National Geological Trail.
Palouse Falls has long been a location used by Native American tribes. The falls were first documented in 1841, during a survey of the region led by Captain Charles Wilkes of the United States Navy (U.S. Exploring Expedition).
Palouse Falls State Park was dedicated on June 3, 1951. The 105 acres that make up the park were donated by several parties, including The Baker-Boyer National Bank of Walla Walla (73 acres), J.M. McGregor of the McGregor Land and Livestock Company (22 acres), Mrs. Agnes Sells of Washtucna (9 acres) and others.
Palouse Falls was designated as the state waterfall by the Washington State legislature on March 18, 2014. The bill designating the waterfall was written by 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade students of the nearby Washtucna School.