In the heart of the Washington Palouse region, Palouse Falls formed around 13,000 years ago as the last great glacier scraped and gouged its way north. Palouse Falls is one of the few waterfalls from the Ice Age-era still flowing today in the United States. In 1951, Palouse Falls State Park was officially established, providing it some protection from commercial endeavors. The Palouse region is a gently rolling plains that somewhat resembles sand dunes, especially in late summer, when the heat has set in and browned the wheat and barley to shimmering gold. Largely an agricultural region, most of the towns are centered around farming and transport of grains.
The closest large town, Pomeroy, is about 40 miles to the southeast. Also a farming town, Pomeroy is the county seat and has a few restaurants and shops lining its main street. It’s also known for its two annual events: Pioneer Day & Tumbleweed Festival, which is held in early June, and Garfield County Fair, which usually takes place in mid-September.
Palouse Falls State Park is a small park with only 94 acres to its name. However, its main star of the show is the Palouse Falls, which more than makes up for its diminutive size. The Palouse River serpentines and whips through the gentle swells, eventually finding its way to a massive gorge carved out by a glacier thousands of years ago. In a nearly perfect freefall, the water drops over 200 feet into a turquoise pool. The water’s journey does not slow one bit. The water flows into a steep, narrow canyon lined by basalt rock that looks like it was formed by a child at a beach. The fast-moving river twists and turns, increasing its speed as the canyon narrows until it eventually joins with the mighty Snake River.
Visitors to Palouse Falls State Park have a choice between three different viewing points, and one is wheelchair-accessible.
Hikers and bikers need not dismay at the lack of hiking recreational fun. Nearby Columbia Plateau State Park Trail is a 130-mile trail that meanders and weaves across hills, plateaus, and canyons of Washington state. All adventurers should be well-prepared for adverse, arid conditions. A large portion of this trail passes through high-desert terrain, and water sources are few and far in between. Far from civilization, this trail is an excellent spot for wildlife-watching. Various mammals like moose, elk, and deer are frequently spotted grazing on the dry grasslands. Bring a camera.
Camping at Palouse Falls State Park
Unfortunately, RV camping at Palouse Falls State Park isn’t possible due to its small size. However, there are a handful of options within 30 miles of the park. In Lyons, WA is Starbuck KOA, which boasts modern amenities like wifi, electric hookups, and a dog park. It also offers kayak rentals and an espresso bar.
Alternatively, RV camp at Devils Bench in Prescott. Operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineer, the campground is a smaller one with only six primitive sites. Each site is accompanied by a fire ring and a picnic table. Vault toilets and dumpsters are available for guests to use, too.
Exploring the Area
Hop into a rental motorhome and go on the long, rolling roads of the Palouse farm country. The small towns scattered across central Washington are full of friendly locals who know all their neighbors and the latest gossip. Stop in one of the gift shops and search their shelves for an RV camping souvenir to take home.
Along the way, stop at the Historical Museum in Washtucna, and explore its exhibits and displays. The small museum has on display various artifacts, tools, and memorabilia used by the residents of central Washington as far back as the mid-1800s, including late 1800 dress and an early 1900s baby carriage.
Continue the journey into the past at Dayton’s Historic Depot Museum, which is housed in a charming 1900s home, which was once the station agent’s home. The depot-turned-museum was built in 1881, and very little has been changed since then. It has the original furnishing, a chalkboard that was used to post trains’ schedules, and benches for the passengers in the waiting room. No train museum is complete without a train. On-site is an original caboose car that was restored to working condition.
After enjoying the refreshing spray of the waterfall at Palouse Falls State Park, retreat into the comforts a travel trailer rental. Far from cities, the stars overhead are clear and as bright as diamonds. You will find your perfect RV camping adventure in central Washington when you book an RV in Franklin County.
Palouse Falls State Park, WA is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
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