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The Palouse

Southeast Washington State




Eastern WA










Highways and Byways of

Eastern WA

Cascade Loop

Okanogan Loop


†† Ellensburg

†† Moses Lake

†† Spokane


†† Yakima

Secondary Highways

WA-20 west

WA-20 east



US-2 East

US-2 west




The Palouse is made up of five counties in southeast Washington State.The Counties of the Palouse are; Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, and Whitman.They are shown in red on the map to the left.


You will come away from the Palouse with the impression of a sea of grain crops blowing in the breeze on what seems like endless rolling hills.


The largest cities in the Palouse are Clarkston, Colfax, Dayton, Othello,Pomeroy, Pullman, and Ritzville.For more information on any to these cities click on the hot link in the green bar on the left side of this page.



The Palouse is named after the Palouse Indians.They were a small tribe indigenous to the area.They were affiliated with the Nez Perce Tribe.


The first settlers here found rich top soil, up to 100 feet deep.However, the 16 inch annual rainfall would not support crops.The steep rolling hills were covered with clump grass and cattle ranching seemed to be the best use of the land.


When eastern Europeans arrived in the area they brought the knowledge of farming similar areas from their homeland.They planted winter wheat and it grew well here and soon was the major crop in the State.




US Highway-12 as it winds through the Palouse in southeastern Washington



A metal sculpture in downtown Ritzville.


Metal Sculpture

In the Palouse you canít help but notice the beautiful skies, the rolling Palouse hills and the magnificent basaltic rock formations.The image will remain in your mindís eye for years.


With so much to see we found it surprising that the City of Ritzville has gone to considerable expense and effort to provide visitors with another memorable view, some wonderful metal sculptures placed throughout the community.It is a lovely stop in you travels to take the time to see the art in this city.


Channeled Scab Lands

There are two types of terrain in the Palouse, the steep rolling hills and the channeled scab lands.The channeled scab lands were caused by the giant glacial lake which covered Montana that was formed by a glacial ice dam through what is now Idaho.The lake was called Primitive Lake Missoula and it was the largest body of fresh water that ever existed.


When that ice dam melted about fifteen thousand years ago it released a huge flood which gouged enormous canyons in the basalt bedrock of the region.A very striking example of this type of landscape is


Palouse Falls.The falls drops 200 feet into a cirque surrounded by sheer basaltic cliffs.You can find similar cliffs throughout the Palouse.


The Palouse River drops over the falls about 46 miles west of Colfax.Turn north from US Highway-12 onto WA-261 about 10 mi. north of Dayton and go about 20 mi. to the park entrance.


From WA-26 turn south on WA-260 about 42 mi. west of Colfax for 6 mi. then turn left (south) on WA-261 for about 10 mi. to the park entrance.


The falls is in Palouse Falls State Park.The park is about 20 mi. north of US-12 and 16 mi. south of WA-26 on WA-260 and WA-261.






Palouse Falls





























Hells Canyon Visitors Association














Asotin County Web Page.




























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