Post Summary: The List of Best Waterfalls in Washington and Exactly Where To Find Them
Can you think of anything better than walking on a Washington hiking trail, only to hear the rumble of a waterfall as you turn the corner?
It’s such an invigorating experience – we always wonder what it was like for the first people to stumble across these photogenic Washington spots!
If you’re like us and love trails with a reward (of the watery kind) at the end, we’re here to share our favorite Washington waterfalls in this post.
We’re covering more than 16 waterfalls in Washington, from the Olympic Peninsula, Eastern Washington, the Cascade Mountains, and everywhere in between!
Berty and I are also adding some lesser-known waterfalls in Washington at the very end of this post!
(And stick around until the end, because we’re sharing a saveable Google map so you can easily find them on the road!)
- When is the best time to visit Waterfalls in Washington?
- What to Pack When Visiting Waterfalls in Washington
- Top 10 Washington Waterfalls You Need To See To Believe
- 1. Snoqualmie Falls
- 2. Palouse Falls
- 3. Falls Creek Falls
- 4. Marymere Falls
- 5. Wallace Falls
- 6. Sol Duc Falls
- 7. Panther Creek Falls
- 8. Franklin Falls
- Other Epic Waterfalls in Washington To Explore
- Map of Washington Waterfalls
- MORE WASHINGTON ADVENTURES
When is the best time to visit Waterfalls in Washington?
Personally, we think any time of year is great to visit Washington waterfalls!
However, the best waterfalls in Washington are the most powerful and full right after the snow melts, which is in the spring season.
Early summer provides that same volume too, especially if you are visiting waterfalls in higher elevations, like at Mount Rainier. In the dry part of the year (August and September) historically see the smallest flows, but they pick up again when the rain returns in the fall.
Winter is also a good time to visit waterfalls, but some trails are blocked off from snow and can’t be accessed until it melts again in the spring.
Final Say: Come in the spring season to see these Washington waterfalls at their largest, dumping huge volumes of water every second!
What to Pack When Visiting Waterfalls in Washington
Rain Jacket: If you are visiting Washington State in the spring, you’re likely going to arrive when the weather is rainy and wet! Don’t forget to pack a rain jacket like this one from Columbia, that can stuff down really small in your pack!
Weather-Sealed Tech Gear: If you are getting up close to these powerful Washington waterfalls, it is important to know if your camera gear can keep up! We love Canon cameras because they are weather-sealed and can stand wind, rain, drastic temperatures, and more. Read here for more of what is on our travel photography gear list.
Dry Bag: For an extra layer of protection against the elements, pack you electronic gear in a dry bag – especially if you are getting close to any waterfalls in Washington.
Rain Boots with grip (Waterproof Hiking Boots): If your Washington hiking trail is a short one, we often wear regular rain boots, like these ones from Hunter. However, if your Washington waterfall trail is longer, we’d suggest opting for a waterproof hiking boot, like these St Elias GTXs from Vasque!
Top 10 Washington Waterfalls You Need To See To Believe
1. Snoqualmie Falls
- Hike Required? No
- Height: 286 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Block style waterfall
- Best Perspective: Many from the surrounding boardwalks
Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Washington State. Seeing more than 1.5 million visitors a year, Snoqualmie Falls is a quick 30-45 minute drive from Seattle, Washington.
With free parking and admission, several viewpoints, and a two-acre park, this is a family-friendly place to come and enjoy an afternoon in the outdoors! There are several tiered boardwalks that go along the Snoqualmie River for different vantage points, as well as an observation deck.
2. Palouse Falls
- Hike Required? No
- Height: 198 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Single drop plunge or horsetail falls
- Best Perspective: From Above
Palouse Falls is the largest waterfall in Eastern Washington and the official Washington state waterfall. Located in Eastern Washington, it’s a little bit of a drive, but worth the trek!
Here, you can see this waterfall drop down the basalt cliff walls of the canyon and wind through the canyon as it eventually connects with the Snake River
. We recommend coming to see this Washington waterfall during sunset, as the golden hour lights up the area in such a beautiful way!
You can stay overnight at the Palouse State Park Campground so you don’t have to worry about driving home in the dark.
3. Falls Creek Falls
- Hike Required? Yes, 5-miles out and back
- Height: 335 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Tiered falls
- Best Perspective: Lower viewpoint, (Most accessible)
Falls Creek Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side.
Getting to this Washington waterfall requires a 5-mile out and back trail, winding through old-growth forest and along the creek’s edge nearly the entire way.
The best perspective for viewing Falls Creek Falls is at the end of the trail (2.5-miles from the parking lot), with a clear view of the lower falls.
You can opt to take a side trail (Less-used, and very slippery) to view the smaller upper falls, but we think the best views are from the more convenient lower viewpoint.
Come in the springtime to see this waterfall in Washington in its full glory. During heavy runoff times, Falls Creek Falls actually has a second falls emerge next to the main one!
4. Marymere Falls
- Hike Required? Yes. 1.7-miles out and back
- Height: 90 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Fan Waterfall
- Best Perspective: Wooden Deck Viewing Platforms
Marymere Falls is a waterfall located in the Olympic National Park on the Washington Peninsula.
Located right off Lake Crescent, it’s an easy day trip from Port Angeles if you are exploring the north end of the Olympic National park. Park at the iconic Storm King Ranger Station to begin your short hike to the falls.
Take the short and easy 1.7-mile out and back trail to view this Washington waterfall from a wooden viewing platform deck.
This is a perfect trail to do with kids because of its short distance and huge reward at the end!
Extend Your Trip: Mount Storm King Trail In Olympic National Park
5. Wallace Falls
- Hike Required? Yes 3.7-miles out-and-back to the first viewpoint
- Height: 265 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Cascading Falls
- Best Perspective: Lower Viewpoint is the most iconic
Wallace Falls is a fun trail to take with the whole family. Located just off Highway 2 near Index, Washington, it’s a convenient hiking trail near Seattle, making it a great morning hike if you need to get back in town for the rest of the day.
The trail has quite a bit of elevation gain, so you’ll find yourself getting a good sweat session in to reach the falls.
Along the way, there are plenty of benches and picnic shelters to rest, some with views of the river and glimpses of the falls from a distance.
The first view of this Washington waterfall would be at the lower viewpoint, which is a common stopping point for most hikers.
However, you can continue to hike further up the trail (with more elevation gain) to reach the middle viewpoint and upper viewpoint if you want to get closer to the water.
6. Sol Duc Falls
- Hike Required? Yes. 1.6-miles out-and-back
- Height: 48 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Plunge Falls
- Best Perspective: Multiple – From the bridge, and various points on either side
Sol Duc Falls is the most popular waterfall in the Olympic National Park. Splitting off into three sections, it’s incredibly photogenic, and you’ll likely find a few photographers with their tripods set up on the bridge to capture that perfect shot.
The trail is quite easy, a simple 1.6-mile out-and-back trail with little elevation gain (200 feet). This is a great Washington hiking trail to do with the whole family!
Want to stay nearby? Check into Sol Duc Hot Springs (you’ll pass it on the way to the trailhead) to soak your sore muscles after the hike.
7. Panther Creek Falls
- Hike Required? Yes, 0.4 miles out and back
- Height: 130 feet
- Type of Waterfall: Fan and Block Falls
- Best Perspective: The end of the trail (Base of the falls)
- Permit Required: None
Panther Creek Falls is the perfect choice for hikers who want epic photos without having to work too hard to find them.
The extremely short 0.4-mile out-and-back trail leads you to a viewing area where you can watch this powerful Washington waterfall tumble into the creek below.
To reach the falls, start at Carson, WA in the Columbia River Gorge and drive 13 miles north on NF-65 (Forest Road #65). You’ll see a parking lot on the right, and the trailhead is just across the street.
This place can get very popular, so we suggest coming in the early morning hours or during the week if you want to experience fewer crowds!
8. Franklin Falls
- Hike Required? Yes, and easy 2-mile out-and-back trail
- Height: 70 Feet
- Type of Waterfall: Plunge Falls (the bottom tier)
- Best Perspective: at the base of Franklin Falls
The hike to Franklin Falls is one of the most fun activities to do in Washington with kids. The hike is pretty short (only 2 miles out-and-back) but the reward at the end will make any child feel like they accomplished the world!
Franklin Falls is actually a three-tiered Washington waterfall, but only the bottom tier is viewable to hikers along the trail.
You can walk right up to the base and feel the powerful mist on your face for a refreshing break on your Pacific Northwest hike.
It can also be taken as a winter hike in Washington because the falls freeze solid for a spectacular scene!
Make sure to pack your snowshoes and be ready to hike a few extra miles – in deep snow flurries the trailhead is closed and you’ll need to park your car a few miles up the road.
Other Epic Waterfalls in Washington To Explore
We certainly haven’t seen all the amazing waterfalls in Washington, and there are so many more to see on our list!
Here are more falls to explore, and we’ll keep on updating this post with more information as we explore more!
- Comet Falls – Mount Rainier Area
- Spirit Falls – Columbia River Gorge
- Narada Falls – Mount Rainier National Park
- Spray Falls – Mount Rainier National Park
- Myrtle Falls – Mount Rainier National Park
- Deception Falls – Skykomish, Washington
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Skookum Falls
- Snoquera Falls