Palouse Country.

This post is about our trip to Palouse Country, Washington State.  The origin of the name may have been from the Palus Indian Tribe. French-Canadian trappers and fur traders may have used the French word pelouse meaning “land with short, thick grass” to describe the area. The Palouse Hills extend out from Steptoe Butte and cover an estimated 3,000 square mile region in SE Washington and Northern Idaho.  We look out upon a sea of wind-blown hills dotted with ancient buttes surrounded by distant mountains. The fertile silty loess makes the Palouse a productive farming region. In the Palouse wheat is king.

We left home on Sunday morning (May 22) quite early.  Our very first interesting stop was to see Palouse Falls and the Palouse River.  It is a 198 foot falls with high volume of water (in the spring and the fall). The iconic falls has been deemed the official water falls of Washington State.  This is an amazing spot for photography.  We didn’t hike down to get close to the falls. I could see it was a narrow path and did not feel very safe. I noticed also that there were many places with no fence. The view of the river was also really nice.


You can see here where the water flows …into the river.  You can see people just above the canyon. And if you look carefully you will notice a trail ( on the right of the image below) . This is to allow you to get closer to the fall . Personally, I think it is a bit  risky to walk there but we saw people doing it.


After about one hour, we drove to Colfax where we were going to spend 3 nights. Colfax is a very small town with less than 3000 of population. On the main street, you find a few restaurants, banks, post office, gas station, grocery store and some businesses.

The next  morning, we were up bright and early and ready to go to Steptoe Butte, a National Natural Landmark.  A Steptoe is an isolated hill, or mountain, of older rock that is surrounded by younger lava flows. This island in a sea of stone (quartzite that is some of the oldest rock in Washington State) is 3612 feet. It has survived massive floods and burning lava.


Driving over there from Colfax was not very long but the ride was nice with all the green and the rolling hills on each side of the road. We saw some sheep and lamas.  During our time in Palouse, we saw also  lots of horses and some cows.




We arrived  to the butte and  drove slowly as I wanted to capture it all. When we got to the top, we had a 360 degree view on the whole area. It was cloudy, very windy and cold, about 8C. But the view was magnificent.


We had two full days to explore the area and see as much as we could.  Not much traffic on the roads. The villages we visited were also very quiet.  We realized that there was not much work happening on the fields also. All the work must had  been done already.

We were  happy with our first day. Especially because we didn’t have much rain. Just a little in the afternoon. Those big clouds would eventually go away.  My next post will show you more of Palouse Country.  We even went back up to Steptoe Butte at the end of our second day as the sun was out and I knew the photos would be more interesting  ( the sky less  cloudy and gray).

Thanks for reading/commenting. It means a lot to me. MERCI.


14 thoughts on “Palouse Country.

  1. Extraordinary countryside, what a beautiful part of the US. I don’t blame you for not hiking that trail, it looks a little too close to the edge! My favorite image is this very last one with the 360 view…wow!! So fun to come along on your travels 🙂

  2. I love that beautiful green view from the top of the Butte. SO beautiful, and the colors are lovely under the cloudy sky, actually!
    I tried to see what was dangerous looking about the trail down to the falls, but I couldn’t see it! Of course, I am assuming there were stairs, out of sight, which led to the brown trail…. perhaps there were no stairs.

    Lovely trip!

  3. Excellent farmland, what a superb part of the US. I don’t criticize you for not trekking that trail, it looks unnecessarily close to the edge! My most cherished picture is this last one with the 360 point of view… goodness!! So charming to come on your voyages:)I love that delightful green perspective from the highest point of the Butte. SO delightful, and the hues are exquisite under the shady sky, really!

    • thanks for you comment! :-)… Palouse is indeed a wonderful area to explore…slowly . I will try to go back next year . One more post on Palouse today.. Mostly photos. I hope you’ll enjoy if you look !

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