Being back in the United States for a bit has been fun, especially being able to spend time at home exploring my own backyard – the Pacific Northwest. A couple weeks ago I set out on an ambitious hike up Caribou Ridge to the summit of Mt. Coeur d’Alene. The rumor was that there was an overlook up there with stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene; what was supposed to be an easy, yet ambitious, out-and-back 9 mile hike turned into an all day, 2-3′ of snow, mountain excursion to the top of a totally grown in and obscured mountain. 14 miles and most of a day later our group finally got back to the car and went to dinner.
This set in motion the next adventure – another hike, this one to a known destination with an easy access point. After getting back from my first full hitch in the Gulf of Mexico I set out once again to blaze a trail across the Northwest, this time to Palouse Falls.
Palouse Falls is an easy access hike, located in South Central Washington State anybody can get there if they put “Palouse Falls State Park” into their phone’s GPS. Being a state park there is a $10 fee for day use, and there are camping spaces available as well. Be warned if you plan on camping there, it’s also a very popular rattlesnake habitat. Just an FYI.
Palouse Falls boasts an enviable drop of 218′ (66m) and is really a hidden gym of the Northwest – sitting at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers in a deep canyon. You’d really never notice it if you were to look across the flat and nearly featureless landscape of Central Washington – Palouse Falls is entirely hidden in its canyon. It is also home to the (unofficial) world record for the highest drop done in a Kayak – held by Tyler Bradt and completed in 2010.
Once you find a parking space the hike itself is fairly simple. We set off following a well worn trail and followed that along the cliffside until we reached a narrow draw that led us down to the fenced off railroad tracks. From there you are able to enter the upper canyon near the upper falls, and forge along a small goat trail to the top of the lower falls. A much narrower, and very much steeper, trail then winds around the inside of the lower falls “bowl” down to the base of the falls. Some good samaritan years ago was kind enough to put in some ropes to help with the descent and more importantly – the climb back out.
Of course I took the drone with me and filmed a quick video after we were done hiking. Here is the link to that and a few photos from the trip.