Where is Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls State Park is located in Eastern Washington and is managed and maintained by the state’s parks and recreation commission. The park contains the namesake Palouse Falls, paved interpretive walking trails, and a campground. Visitors arriving at the park will find a variety of opportunities for waterfall viewing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Through Palouse Falls State Park runs the Palouse River, which not only produces the Palouse Falls but also winds throughout the state until it runs into the Snake River.
How Big is Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls State Park rests entirely in the state of Washington, and the area protected and distinguished as the state park covers 94 acres. The highest elevation within the park is 784 feet. The Palouse Falls that give the park its name are 200 feet tall. The interpretive walking trails, which cover topics such as the park’s geology and cultural ties, are only a few tenths of a mile long. Palouse Falls State Park offers three different views of the Palouse Falls.
Palouse Falls State Park Weather
Weather in Palouse Falls State Park can vary greatly throughout the seasons. Summer temperatures in the park can reach upwards of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, during the winter temperatures in the park can plummet to lows of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest months in the park are June, July, and August. The coldest months in the park are December, January, and February. Spring and fall in the park are rather mild. Temperatures frequent the 50's and 60’s during these seasons. The area surrounding the park receives an average of 43 inches of snow every year. This snow normally falls in November through March.
When did Palouse Falls Become a State Park
Palouse Falls became a state park in 1951 when several different donors donated parcels of land to the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission. Years before this, the area surrounding the park served as a home to the Palouse Indians. Several exhibits on the park’s interpretive trail discuss the Palouse culture and their use of the park.
Things to do in Palouse Falls State Park
There are several activities surrounding the park’s features and history that visitors can experience on their visit. The most popular adventures are listed below.
Palouse Falls are the park’s main attraction. Visitors looking to get a glimpse of the falls have three options. The first option features a direct view of the falls and starts from a series of steps near the main day use parking lot. The second option lies at the end of the paved interpretive walking trail. Fryxell Overlook, the third and highest option can be found by the gravel secondary parking area. The final option offers panoramic views of the falls and surrounding river.
Interpretive Walking Trail
The paved interpretive walking trail is a great experience for anyone looking to learn more about the park’s history, culture, and geology. Visitor’s will also learn about how the ice age affected the park and surrounding area. The walking trail is 0.1 miles long and is completely paved. The trail is easily accessed from the park’s parking lot.
The park’s walking trail provides a great introduction to the culture of the park’s previous inhabitants. Additional materials discussing the Palouse Indians and their traditions can be found online.
Palouse Falls State Park is a popular birding site. Every year flocks of excited birders visit the park. These birders hope to spot Bullock’s orioles, willow flycatchers, and several other rare species.
Visitors to the park that keep their eyes peeled may be able to spot several mammalian species present in the park. These species include mule deer, ground squirrels, and a few others.
Camping in Palouse State Park
Palouse State Park contains one campground. The campground is for tent camping only, and is run on a first come, first serve basis only. Camping in the park is extremely limited. Visitors looking to camp in the park are urged to arrive at the park early and also have a backup camping option in mind. The park’s website also recommends that visitors of the park be prepared to wait for parking as it is extremely limited as well.
When to go to Palouse State Park
A visit to Palouse State Park is possible throughout all four seasons. A winter visit to the park may entail traveling in snowy and icy conditions. During the summer season, the park’s day use area opens at 6 am and closes at dusk. In the winter, the park’s day use area opens at 8 am and closes at dusk.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Palouse State Park
A trip to Palouse State Park is best experienced by visitors who bring a few supplies along with them. The most important of these items are listed below:
Every trip outdoors requires water. A trip to Palouse State Park. Visitors looking to camp in the park should bring additional water with them to the park. Drinking water in the park is turned off from October to April. The park’s website provides additional information regarding current water related closures.
Inside the park there are no opportunities for visitors to purchase food or supplies. Visitors should bring all their meals and snacks with them to the park. Campers visiting the park should look to bring high-energy snacks like beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit with them.
Sturdy Walking Shoes
Every visitor to Palouse State Park should bring sturdy walking shoes along with them at the very least. Campers may want to bring a pair of hiking boots along with them.
Palouse State Park experiences several days of precipitation during each season. Visitors of Palouse State Park should bring a lightweight rain jacket along with them to the park. Campers may want to invest in a completely waterproof rain jacket instead of one that is just water resistant.
Multiple Clothing Layers
Visitors camping at Palouse State Park should look to arrive at the park with multiple layers of clothing. Nightly temperatures in the park can plummet. Wearing multiple layers will allow visitors to adjust to a variety of temperatures.
Sunglasses, Sunscreen, and a Hat
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat are good suggestions for all visitors to follow when packing for the park. These three items will not only protect visitors from the sun’s rays but also provide some needed comfort in hot summer months.
Visitors to Palouse State Park who are hoping to spot several Washington birds or other wildlife species will want to make sure they remember to bring their binoculars along with them. These binoculars can also be used from several of the park’s overlooks to get a closer look at Palouse Falls. A lightweight but power pair of binoculars is a worthy investment for every outdoor enthusiast.
Flashlight or Headlamp
Nightfall in the park brings almost complete darkness cloudy nights. Campers visiting the park will want to bring a flashlight, headlamp, or other light source with them for night use.
Where to stay in Palouse State Park
Visitors looking to stay in Palouse State Park will want to arrive at the park’s campground very early. During the summer season and on weekends, the park’s tent only campground frequently fills up before noon. Visitors hoping to camp who can’t get a spot in Palouse State Park will want to try Starbuck/Lyons Marina KOA or the Riparia Campground nearby. Individuals looking to stay in a hotel near Palouse State Park will want to visit nearby towns such as Perry and Starbuck.
Food Nearby Palouse State Park
There are no food options offered within Palouse State Park. Visitors who are camping are urged to bring their supplies along with them to Palouse State Park. Visitors looking to buy a hot meal or supplies should visit nearby towns such as Perry and Starbuck. These towns are 15 and 22 minutes away.
Airports Near Palouse State Park
The closest airport to Palouse State Park is located in Spokane. The Spokane International airport is 103 miles and about a 2-hour drive away. The next closest airports are located in Portland, Oregon and Seattle. The Portland International Airport is four hours and thirty minutes away. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is three hours and forty-five minutes away from the park.