From shimmering waterfalls to serene vistas, we have traveled from the coast through the cascades (safely) to attempt to capture the natural majesty of some of Washington's state parks - which we were granted access to from officials during their closure for COVID-19. Some of them are open again and ready for some socially distanced outdoor fun and relaxation. If your necessary travels bring you near any of these parks, they are totally worth a visit.
This park was dedicated in 1951 and is home to Washington’s official state waterfall. Water cascades about 200 feet into the Palouse River canyon creating an almost magical cloud of mist and a magnificent sound along the way. According to the WA State Parks website, this waterfall is about 13,000 years old and one of the few remaining waterfalls along the “Ice Age” flood path. Palouse Falls is located about halfway between Richland and Spokane off WA-261.
The power of the Pacific Ocean is on full display at this state park in Gray’s Harbor County. With views of North and South bays along with a seemingly endless oceanfront beach, this is a great place to relax and enjoy natures beauty. Rumor has it, this park is also a prime surfing spot. And if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the Gray’s Harbor Lighthouse.
This park on the shores of the O’Sullivan Reservoir is an eastern Washington oasis, with abundant opportunities for birding, fishing, picnicking, boating and water-sports. The potholes themselves are geological leftovers from the Ice Age, tiny islands and lakes making for pothole-like vistas. Potholes State Park is near Othello and about 20 minutes from the nearest I-90 interchange.
Located on the banks of the Chehalis River, this park offers the peace and tranquillity only an old growth forest can provide. Miles of wooded trails combine with cascading water for a one-of-a-kind escape. Rainbow Falls State Park encompasses almost 130 acres and offers ample opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking and more. The park is located off of WA-6 near the town of Pe Ell.