Palouse Falls, March, 2004

Palouse Falls, with a drop of 200', was formed by one of the Great Missoula Floods which carved out many of the geological features of central Washington. The Palouse river continues 6 miles south where it feeds into the Snake River, at Lyons Ferry.

It is really surprising to find a waterfall like this in the high Sonoran desert of central Washington. You could drive past on State Highway 261 and have no idea this was just two miles away down a hard-packed gravel road.

That's a person in the black circle in the left center of the photo above. There are many trails nearby, but if you hike here, watch out for rattlesnakes!

Looking downstream towards the Snake river -- the canyon is walled by sheer columnar basalt, layered in 100-foot-thick lava flows. 5 miles downstream from the falls is an ancient rockshelter, where some of the oldest human artifacts (10-12,000 years old) ever found in the Western Hemisphere were discovered in 1968.

In April and May, this will be vivid green, with lots of wildflowers. Then as summer arrives, it will turn brown...

Copyright © 2004, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.