Palouse Hills

Discover Washington's stunning southeast corner

The rolling wheat hills of the Palouse region of southeast Washington are a photographer’s dream and a visitor’s delight. Magnificent buttes give way to panoramic views and the horizon seems to go on forever.

You might see a hawk circling above or hear the buoyant, flutelike melody of a western meadowlark ringing out across a field. There’s a feeling of remoteness here with long abandoned barns and rural farm roads with very little traffic.

Wheat and grapes love the fertile soils. This is a place to taste some of the nation’s finest wine and explore a spectacularly scenic region.

Walla Walla Wine Country

Walla Walla Vineyard

The Walla Walla Valley’s rich farming history now includes more than 3,000 acres of prime vineyards and more than 120 wineries. There are five main winery and tasting room areas to visit, so plan to spend at least a day or two here.

Walk down the Main Street of Walla Walla and drink in its small-town charm. Check out the historic grandeur of the Marcus Whitman Hotel. You might want to map out your winery tours in the hotel’s cozy Vineyard Lounge and make this your home base.

Within 4 blocks of downtown Walla Walla you can walk to a large concentration of tasting rooms. And it’s no surprise that there are fine restaurants to complement the local wine. Enjoy Spring Release Weekend and Holiday Barrel Tasting in December to celebrate newly released wines.

Hiking and Cycling

Biking the Palouse Trail

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Blue Mountains on Walla Walla’s doorstep provide numerous locations and trails to hike, cycle and soak in the sun and scenic beauty.

The Palouse is also becoming famous for cycling with everything from 35 miles of paved bike paths to full-on single track mountain biking, and some great hilly low traffic road riding. Join the 50 km or 100 km Tour de Lentil Bike Ride for a chance to see the scenic Palouse off the beaten track.

Palouse Scenic Byway

Palouse Rolling Hills

The 208-mile Palouse Scenic Byway combines extraordinary scenery with charming small towns. The Palouse is an artist’s dream. Its beauty lies in the unique layering of the gently rolling hills with the changing colors and light. Thousands of acres of wheat fields turn from lush shades of spring green to yellow to autumn gold and brown with the seasons.

Small Town Charm in Pullman

Pullman

Make Pullman your hub for exploring the Palouse. This is a vibrant college town where you can enjoy local craft beer and wine, dine on menus created with local foods and maybe even take in a live show at one of the local theaters.

Swing by the WSU Creamery to take home a round of its famous Cougar Gold Cheddar and allow time to tour the Grizzly Bear Research Center.

Plan to see and a taste (a free sample) from the world's largest bowl of lentil chili at the National Lentil Festival in August. This popular food fest includes the legendary lentil cook-off, entertainment, a parade, and the Tour de Lentil Bike Ride.

You’ll experience a sense of nostalgia for an older, small-town America along this byway. Enjoy antiquing and a delicious lunch at a local bakery. Palouse is one of the oldest communities in the county with many historic sites, including Roby Chatters Newspaper and Printing Museum. Snap a photo of the iconic Dahmen Barn wagon wheel fence or Codger Pole in Colfax. Stroll down memory lane at the vintage Texaco Station in Rosalia.

Steptoe Butte

Don’t miss driving up the circular route to the top of this 3,612-foot butte to enjoy unparalleled views of the Palouse. Shoot a panorama of the 200-mile view of the rolling sculpted landscape, to share with family and friends!

Palouse Falls State Park

The park offers a dramatic view of one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls. Palouse Falls drops from a height of 200 feet and is higher and wilder than Niagara Falls. Stick to the trails and designated areas as venturing beyond is not safe.

Try to time your visit to the falls with sunset; watching the light and shadows change along the canyon walls is a memorable experience. Linger a little longer and enjoy the relaxing sound of "Aput Aput," (meaning "falling water") the Palouse Indian name for the falls.

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