Saturday, January 18th, we were in eastern Washington in Medical Lake and had set the day aside for a visit to Palouse Falls State Park about two hours to the south. We left at 6:00 am and were in the park, after stopping for coffee by 8:30 a.m. The park is in a very remote area and after following a dirt road the last several miles to the park we found only one other person there and he left shortly after we arrived
Palouse Falls is on the Palouse River not far from its confluence with the Snake River, in the scablands of eastern Washington, a rugged area of buttes, pinnacles, potholes and coulees. There are two parts to the falls, an Upper Falls which drops about 20 feet and is more of a cascades than a falls, and a Lower Falls which drops suddenly and dramatically 180 feet into a huge basalt bowl and canyon whose walls are 375 feet high.
The main area of the park is perched on the canyon walls above the Lower Falls and provides wonderful views of the falls. That part of the park is fenced and is safe for children, but most of the park is undeveloped and some care must be taken when following the rim of the canyon. There is a way down to the bottom of the canyon but it is supposed to be difficult and dangerous and we did not have time for it.
Finished with the trails overlooking the Lower Falls we headed north, a short hike along the canyon rim and then down a short steep track to the railroad that runs through the area and long the railroad a short distance to a good trail to the Upper Falls. We did not see the good trail going down, however, and slip down a steep slope on our backsides getting quite muddy and dirty in the process. The Lower Falls were in their own way as beautiful as the Upper.
It is too early for wildflowers, but we did spend some time on the way back to the parking lot taking photos of some dead and dry plants from last year. Having spent several hours at the park and having gotten the pictures we wanted we left, also stopping along the way to photograph an old abandoned house. The weather was not great, though it made for good pictures, and we have already decided to go back when the weather is better.
One note, most of pictures of the falls are mine including the time exposures. The photos of the falls that are not time exposures are my wife's and provide a nice contrast.