Take I-90 west to State Route 261 and turn left at Palouse Falls Road. It’s a two-hour drive from Spokane, but the view is worth your time and fuel: Sitting on 105 acres of serrated plateaus and jagged rock, Palouse State Falls Park is a geologic wonder. A dazzling 200-foot waterfall plunges through barren basalt highlands, carved by cataclysmic floods that tore apart the region some 15,000 years ago. Below, a sun-flecked green river winds gently through the coulee. Seagulls swoop in and out of the vista. Aptly named Castle Rock juts from a nearby cliff like gothic spires. An easy, dusty walking path near picnic tables and campgrounds overlooks everything. If you’re feeling brave and wearing good walking shoes, you can scale down the sides of the canyon walls and into the Palouse River. Just watch out for snakes. In mid-August, the falls are more tame and the terrain less lush, but the water is warm and on a hot, dry day, perfect for a dip.
Date: Sunday, Aug. 11
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: 18 miles southeast of Washtucna, Wash.
Elevation Gain: 293 ft.
Hiking Distance: 2 miles
Terrain: Easy to difficult; some steep and uneven trails descending the canyon
Visit parks.wa.gov for more information.