Waterfalls in Washington
When my husband and I spent a long weekend in Seattle earlier this fall, it was a non-negotiable for me that we would take a day to head out of the city and see the gorgeous nature that Washington is also known for. Waterfalls near Seattle were one of the first things that I searched for and we were awe struck at the natural beauty that we found at Snoqualmie Falls.
I wish that we could have visited all of the waterfalls in Washington State, but until then, I asked some travel writer friends to include their favorites to share with you. Whether you are only looking for Seattle waterfall options, or Washington waterfalls across the state, I hope you find some beautiful inspiration for your next trip to the Pacific Northwest!
Waterfalls Near Seattle
- Snoqualmie Falls
- Franklin Falls
- Palouse Falls
- Christine Falls
- Bloucher Falls
- Comet Falls
- Wallace Falls
- Sol Duc Falls
Snoqualmie Falls (the closest Seattle waterfall)
Snoqualmie Falls is located just over a half hour outside of the city of Seattle. While booking a tour is possible, it is pretty inexpensive to rent a car for the day instead and enjoy the beautiful, easy drive.
The town of Snoqualmie is a dreamy, charming mountain town that will capture your heart right when you enter it. Parking at Snoqualmie Falls is plenty unless you visit during a summer weekend day. Parking right at the Falls has a fee of $7, but you can park across the street and take the pedestrian bridge across for free.
There are four lookout points for the falls that are just a few minutes stroll between in order to see from all the vantage points. The path is paved and family friendly. This waterfall is beautiful and a but moody on a cloudy day. The Salish Lodge sits at the top of the falls making the view even more picturesque.
In order to see the falls from the bottom by the river, you have two choices. It is a .5 mile walk down which would be lovely on a cool day but tougher in the heat. It starts out paved but turns to gravel so is not stroller friendly. The other option is to drive down to the lower parking lot (free maps are available at the upper lookout). At the river level, you can follow a lovely boardwalk out toward the Falls to get a different view. Visitors are not allowed down on the rocks for safety reasons, but the lookout point is incredible, just crowded in peak season.
The rocks along the river or the picnic tables by the parking lot offer a sweet place to have lunch before departing. These falls were pretty full in September without much rain, so expect a gushing and misty experience if you visit one of our favorite waterfalls in Washington State during the rainier season!
by Nina from Where in the World is Nina
Franklin Falls is just a hop, skip, and jump outside of Seattle and very worth a visit while on a West Coast road trip In fact, there are a few Seattle waterfalls in this area so you can make a whole day of it. Franklin Falls is an easy two-mile roundtrip walk through a coniferous forest. This waterfall is actually a three-tier waterfall but you’ll have to walk a bit further to reach the two top ones. The most impressive and easiest to get to, is the last tier of the falls which is an impressive 70-foot drop into a tiny pool at the base.
The walk is easy but just before getting to the falls you will have to scramble across some slippery rocks to make it all the way. This waterfall is open year-round but you will want to be careful after snowfall since those slippery rocks get even more dangerous to clamber over. Franklin Falls is an easy and gorgeous waterfall that’s worth a stop over while adventuring Washington waterfalls and is best paired with Twin and Snoqualmie Falls that are just next door!
by Trijit from Budget Travel Buff
Palouse Falls is one of the lasting remnants of the Ice Age Floods Path. It is located in a remote area near LaCrosse, Washington and is a 2 hours driving distance from Spokane near the town of Washtucna. It is also popular as Washington’s State Waterfall.
Palouse River is the main source of Palouse Falls that falls 200 feet over a cliff into a beautiful circular pool. Hiking is the main attraction of this tourist spot. You have to descend down into the canyon on an unmarked trail which is quite risky also. Be extra careful while you climb down into the canyon over the rocks as these can rocks can be loose. Follow the trail along with the river’s edge and continue to the left to get the first view of stunning Palouse Falls.
Following an unmarked trail to traversing a steep rock wall on the edge of the frozen river make this hike more adventurous. Photographers, as well as adventure seekers, can enjoy the sheer natural beauty of this state park. Camping is also available here but on a first-come, first-served basis and the range is between $12-35.
- The hike is a little bit dangerous, so be extra cautious during the hike. Check the weather report before the journey.
- There is no cell phone network available on the entire hike.
Christine Falls, Bloucher Falls & Comet Falls
by Michelle from The Wandering Queen
One of the best waterfalls in Washington is located in Mount Rainier National Park. This waterfall is located near the Paradise section of Mount Rainier (The southwest corner). To get to the waterfall, you need to hike 3.8 miles at an elevation gain of about 1,250. This trail is labeled as moderate and highly recommended. There are even two more waterfalls on the trail! It is a great option to explore this area when Mount Rainier is cloudy and can not be seen.
In the first section of the trail, you walk through a thick forest and eventually run into Christine Falls. At around 1.6 miles, you get to East Fork Van Trump Creek. This is a perfect place to stop and take many pictures. There is a cute bridge with a flowing river and a magnificent three-tiered 124-foot waterfall called Bloucher Falls. This waterfall isn’t as impressive as the Comet falls, but it is still an excellent area to enjoy. Very soon after the bridge, you finally get a glimpse of the extraordinary Comet Falls. You can enjoy the falls from afar or enjoy them close up. But just be warned you might get soaked!
by Ivan from Mind the Travel
With stunning mountain ranges, dense forests, many impressive lakes, and easy access from Highway 2 at Gold Bar, Wallace Falls State Park is a popular outdoor destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Wallace Falls State Park is also home to its towering 265-foot cascade, which is a perfect choice for beginners and families looking for a day-trip experience.
Novice hikers will certainly feel the more than 1,000 feet in elevation gain on the Woody Trail, but the greatest hiking reward is a breathtaking view. The cascade is broken into three sections: the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls, but it’s most recognized for the incredible middle falls – which drops about 265 feet in three tiers.
The first part of the trail is definitely the easiest one. Approximately a half-mile from the trailhead you will reach an intersection where you continue to the right eventually coming to the bank of the river. At this point, the trail breaks away from the Wallace River and encounters the first steep climb to the Lower Falls two miles from the trailhead. Here you will find a designated picnic area if you wish to take a break.
The Middle Falls offer very impressive views thanks to its position, not to mention the view of the Skykomish River valley and the Olympic Mountains in the far distance.
Many hikers turn around here and hike back and that’s totally fine. You will see some of the best views of this Washington waterfall from this section of the trail. For those who choose to march on, continue on to the Upper Falls via a series of rather steep switchbacks. The climb from the Middle Falls to the Upper Falls might be tough and challenging but the reward is worth the climb. You will be glad you kept going.
If you drive from Seattle, get on Interstate 5 and head north to State Route 520 and head east until you reach the 405 northbound. Then take State Route 522 east and take the exit for U.S. Route 2 east. Stay on this road until you reach the town of Gold Bar and take a left on 1st Avenue and then a right at May Creek road. Then veer left onto Ley road until you reach the Wallace Falls parking lot with nearby gift shop and an automated pay station where you can purchase the necessary $10 day pass or $30 Discover Pass.
Sol Duc Falls
by Cat from Walk My World
Olympic National Park in the west of Washington is primarily known for its wild, rugged beaches and ancient rainforest. However, it is also home to the stunning Sol Duc Falls, a beautiful waterfall that doesn’t requires a lengthy hike. To get to the falls you need to drive to the end of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road (which is near Lake Crescent) and walk for just under a mile each way. It’s an easy, flat walk through beautiful forest, but you’ll occasionally have to hop over a tree root.
Then you’ll appear at a bridge that looks out over three falls that flow into a chasm carved into the rock below. Whilst the view from the bridge is beautiful, we preferred crossing over and scrambling down the rock to the other side (you need good, dry conditions to do this). From here you can see the bridge and the falls together.
If you go in the late afternoon, you’ll get a beautiful golden light which illuminates the forest and makes this spot feel even more special. However, if you want to beat the crowds, then we recommend an early start, as quite a lot of day trippers head here throughout the day.
Which Washington waterfall is your favorite?
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to plan a road trip and explore them all! Hiking, fish, nature, and coffee – that is what Washington is known for, right? Enjoy your journey!
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