There’s something about a waterfall. Especially one that cascades 200 feet over a bold precipice, rushing to join the Snake River, eventually making its way through deep cuts of rock. Perhaps it’s the rush of water. Or the spray. Or the sound. Whatever it is, you can’t avert your eyes — at least for a few minutes — as you stare into the hard-driving flow, marveling at the power of nature.
Palouse Falls takes you away. And not just when you get there. First, you have to follow Washington Highway 261 west from the agricultural area known as The Palouse into an area of bare rocks and scrubby bushes and almost deserted areas as you wonder if driving 23 miles from Washtucna, Washington, really will get you there.
But once you pay the entry fee to the park and unload your picnic in the designated area, you’ll have to give the falls their due. You’ll rush over to the edge bounded by a strong fence and just stand there, staring at the falls and watching hikers headed for a closer glimpse.
We had hoped to take great pictures – you know, the kind you get when you use morning or evening sun to capture the best moments. Instead, we arrived in the heat of the afternoon when the relentless sun washed out the colors of even the formation to the left of the falls that resembled the drip castles we make each summer at the beach.
Our reward, however, of an afternoon arrival was the appearance of a sliver of a rainbow at the base of the falls. So special. And so unexpected.
After a picnic lunch, we strolled along the fence line, peering into the canyon formation where once loud, rushing waters turned quiet as they meandered along to wherever they were going next.
Palouse Falls State Park, La Crosse, Washington
For more information on camping, fees, and viewing times:
Directions: From SR 261 : Drive 13.5 miles west of Starbuck, or 14.4 miles southwest of the SR 261 and SR 260 junction and take Palouse Falls Rd. east.
For more on our travels through the Inland Northwest, check out the page at the top of this blog: Inland Northwest.