Creation of Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls State Park, located 18 miles southeast of Washtucna, is a beautiful recreational campground that offers a breathtaking view of the Palouse Falls. The Palouse Falls and the surrounding land were carved out by the ice age floods that raged through the area millions of years ago. The Palouse Indians did not believe the Palouse Falls were created by a flood but rather by Beaver who was being hunted by four giant brothers. To honor Palouse Indian culture, the name of the falls was changed to Palouse Falls from “Aput Aput” meaning “falling water,” as the Palouse Tribe called it.

Palouse Falls has made a powerful impression on all who have visited. For example, one of the fall’s earliest visitors, Laurence L. Dodd in 1867, described the site he saw this way: "just before descending the Snake river hill your eye rests on the grateful green bottom of the Palouse with its clear and pure waters, flowing into the turbid Snake and after ascending the Snake river hill to the northward and eastward, the eye sweeps over a vast extent of country rarely surpassed in rugged desolation and wildness.…” Dodd was accompanied by a few Starbuck citizens on horseback to witness the scene he described.

In 1945, Palouse Falls State Park was created. It was dedicated on June 3rd, 1951. The 299 acres that make up the entirety of this vast park were donated by The Baker-Boyer National Bank of Walla Walla, J.M. McGregor of the McGregor Land and Livestock Company of Hooper, and Mrs. Agnes Sells, a resident of Washtucna.

Palouse Falls State Park is located off Highway 261, which branches off Highway 260 out of Washtucna. Today, the park offers hiking, fishing, birdwatching, picnicking, camping, and a hiking trail that “overlooks this natural wonder from an observation shelter with historical displays.”

Images

Railroad Survey Engraving

Railroad Survey Engraving

This engraving titled "Peluse Falls" was created by John M. Stanley as part of a railroad survey. | Source: From the USGS website. "Railroad Surveys, 1860," available at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/Historical/volcanoes_railroad_surveys_1860.shtml View File Details Page

Fishing at Palouse Falls

Fishing at Palouse Falls

Amy and Fay Pierce enjoy a day of fishing at the Palouse Falls. | Source: From the Flickr website. "Fishing at Palouse Falls," available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/wsl-libdev/8629416129 View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Miranda Caudill, “Creation of Palouse Falls State Park,” Ice Age Floods Explorer, accessed October 22, 2017, http://floodexplorer.org/items/show/33.

Share this Story