Best Waterfalls in Washington State: 12 Beautiful Falls in WA

by Jem
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Are you looking for the best waterfalls in Washington State? Here’s a selection of Washington’s most beautiful falls that promise unforgettable experiences. Get ready to discover Washington’s incredible natural beauty!

Situated in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Washington State offers a realm of natural beauty that captivates travelers. From its dense, emerald forests to its majestic mountain ranges, every corner of this state radiates enchantment. Among its many scenic spots, the waterfalls stand out as top attractions. These cascading wonders, each with its unique charm, offer tranquil retreats and exhilarating adventures.

Imagine the thrill of standing at the base of a roaring waterfall. And then, feeling the cool mist on your face, and soaking in the symphony of nature. For those with a passion for hiking, trails leading to some of the best waterfalls in Washington State promise memorable experiences. From easily accessible cascades to those hidden in remote corners, there’s a waterfall for every kind of explorer. As you plan your next adventure, this guide will spotlight two things: Iconic falls and essential travel tips to elevate your journey.

From recommendations on the best times to visit to insights about lesser-known spots, we aim to make your Washington waterfall experience unforgettable. So, whether you’re a local rediscovering the beauty of your home state or a traveler charting new territories, get ready for a journey like no other. Here are the best waterfalls in Washington State that you should know about.

The best waterfalls in Washington State right now
These top waterfalls in WA will blow your mind.

Best Washington State Waterfalls: 12 Iconic Falls in Washington State

Are you ready to discover all the top waterfalls in Washington State? As highlighted earlier, Washington boasts a diverse range of waterfalls for everyone to enjoy. From cascades that are just a short stroll away, perfect for a quick nature escape, to those that require a challenging yet rewarding trek, there’s a waterfall experience tailored for every adventurer. Dive in to find out the must-visit waterfalls in Washington.

Are you keen on witnessing the majestic cascades of the Olympic Peninsula? Or perhaps you’d prefer a serene hike leading to a hidden gem in the Cascade Range? From thrilling natural wonders to peaceful nature retreats, Washington’s waterfalls offer a diverse range of experiences. Here are the best waterfalls in Washington State that you simply can’t miss.

1. Palouse Falls

Tucked away in the southeastern part of the state, Palouse Falls stands as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State. With a drop of nearly 200 feet, this cascade showcases nature’s raw power and beauty. The falls are set within a unique backdrop. It offers both a visual treat and a glimpse into the state’s rich geological history.

For those who love a good hike, the trails around Palouse offer varying levels of difficulty. While some paths are gentle and perfect for families, others provide a bit of a challenge. This makes it ideal for seasoned hikers. As you trek, the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape will leave you in awe. And as the falls come into sight, the sound of the roaring water will beckon you closer.

Palouse Falls is about a 2-hour drive from Spokane. If you’re planning to visit during the weekends, consider arriving early to secure a good parking spot and avoid crowds. There’s a small entrance fee, but the incredible views are well worth it. For those looking to capture the perfect shot, golden hour – just after sunrise or right before sunset – offers the best lighting.

Palouse Falls is a must-visit for anyone exploring Washington’s natural wonders, offering a blend of scenic beauty and outdoor adventure. The falls are so captivating that it’s been designated as Washington States’ official waterfall!

Aerial view of the majestic Palouse Falls in Washington
Aerial view of the majestic Palouse Falls in Washington

2. Snoqualmie Falls

One of Washington’s most visited waterfalls, Snoqualmie Falls is a sight to behold. Plunging from a height of 268 feet, it’s more than just a natural wonder. It’s a cultural and spiritual landmark for the Snoqualmie people. The powerful cascade, surrounded by lush forests, provides a picturesque setting that has captured the hearts of many.

Visitors have the option to view the falls from the observation deck, which is easily accessible and offers a panoramic view. However, for those seeking a bit more adventure, a short but steep trail leads to the base of the falls. This is where the misty spray and thundering sound create an immersive experience. This trail is one of the best waterfall hikes in WA, offering both challenge and reward.

Located just 30 minutes from Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The nearby town of Snoqualmie also offers quaint shops and eateries, which makes it a delightful stopover.

The falls can get crowded, especially during weekends. Arriving early or visiting on a weekday can provide a more peaceful experience. Parking is available on-site, and there’s no entrance fee to view the falls.

Ending your day watching the sunset over Snoqualmie Falls is truly a magical experience and a moment that captures the essence of Washington’s unparalleled beauty.

Discover Snoqualmie-Falls, one of Washington state's most popular scenic attractions
Discover Snoqualmie-Falls, one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions

3. Wallace Falls

Located within the Wallace Falls State Park, Wallace Falls is a series of cascades that offer varying levels of beauty and accessibility. The three main sections – Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls – each provide unique vantage points and experiences. The Lower Falls, being the most accessible, is perfect for those looking for a quick nature escape. On the other hand, the Upper Falls requires a bit more of a trek but rewards with unparalleled views.

The trail to the Upper Falls is among the best waterfall hikes in WA. Winding through dense forests and offering occasional glimpses of the Skykomish Valley below. As you ascend, the sound of rushing water grows louder, guiding you toward the main attraction. Once there, the sight of the water cascading down a 265-foot drop is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Just an hour’s drive from Seattle, Wallace Falls is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Its proximity to the city, combined with its natural beauty, makes it one of the best places to visit in Washington State for waterfall enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

During the summer months, the state park often gets busy, especially at weekends. Consider visiting during the early morning hours or on weekdays for a quieter experience. There’s a small parking fee, and a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access.

After a day at Wallace Falls, kicking back and soaking in the sights and sounds, you’ll quickly realize why it’s a favorite spot for many. Nothing beats the simple joy of nature’s display in Washington.

The beautiful Wallace Falls is part of the Wallace Falls State Park, which is actually a set of different cataract waterfalls.
Hike up Wallace Falls State Park and discover the beautiful Wallace Falls, which is actually a set of different cataract waterfalls.

4. Twin Falls

A stone’s throw away from Seattle, Twin Falls offers an escape for those looking to immerse themselves in Washington’s natural beauty. As the name suggests, this attraction features two cascades. Each pours down in tandem, creating a harmonious display of nature’s artistry.

The trail leading to the falls is a moderate 3.6-mile round trip. This makes it one of the most accessible waterfalls in Washington. Strolling through old-growth forests and crossing charming wooden bridges, the path offers glimpses of the South Fork Snoqualmie River, setting the stage for the main spectacle ahead.

Upon reaching the viewpoint, the sight of the two cascades, side by side, is genuinely captivating. The upper falls gracefully slide down a smooth rock face, while the lower falls tumbles with vigor, creating a frothy pool below.

While Twin Falls does have a parking lot, consider taking advantage of the area’s public transportation options. Bus routes often service nearby trailheads, offering a sustainable and hassle-free way to reach the falls. If you’re hiking during the rainy season, ensure you have waterproof gear, as the trail can get a bit muddy. Don’t forget to pack a snack; there are several scenic spots along the trail perfect for a picnic.

It’s hard not to feel refreshed after a day at Twin Falls. It’s places like this that make you appreciate the little getaways and the big wonders they bring. As such, it’s undoubtedly one of the best waterfalls in Washington State to visit this year.

Twin Falls, which is only a short drive from Seattle, is a pleasant getaway for those seeking to fully appreciate Washington's natural splendor.
Twin Falls is a pleasant getaway for those seeking to fully appreciate Washington’s natural splendor.

5. Marymere Falls

Nestled within the boundaries of the Olympic National Park, Marymere Falls is a hidden gem in WA waiting to be discovered. The falls, plunging from a height of 90 feet, create a serene ambiance as it flows through a moss-covered forest setting.

Reaching Marymere Falls is relatively straightforward, spanning just 1.8 miles round trip. As you walk, you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of the lush forest, with ancient trees and fern-covered grounds painting a picturesque landscape. Wooden footbridges and viewpoints along the way ensure you get the best angles to admire the falls.

While many visitors drive to the Storm King Ranger Station to access the trailhead, consider exploring nearby Lake Crescent. The pristine waters and surrounding mountains offer additional scenic beauty. If you’re visiting during the winter months, be prepared for icy conditions on the trail and wear appropriate footwear.

It’s evident why Marymere Falls is coined one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State. The combination of tranquility and natural splendor makes it a must-visit for anyone exploring WA.

Marymere Falls, one of Washington State's most magnificent waterfalls
Marymere Falls, one of Washington State’s most magnificent waterfalls

6. Bridal Veil Falls

If you’re searching for the best waterfall hikes in WA, make sure to consider Bridal Veil Falls. Located near Index, this waterfall offers an enchanting experience as water gracefully flows down multiple tiers, resembling a bride’s veil.

The journey to the falls is rewarding. The trail, spanning about 4 miles round trip, meanders through dense forests, with occasional openings offering views of the surrounding mountains. As you ascend, the gentle sound of flowing water grows louder, guiding you to the main attraction.

The trailhead for Bridal Veil Falls starts at the Lake Serene Trail. If you’re up for an extended adventure, it’s possible to hike to both the falls and the lake in one trip. Also, while the trail is well-maintained, parts can be steep, so ensure you have sturdy footwear.

After a day exploring Bridal Veil Falls, you’ll understand why it’s often recommended as one of the top things to do in Washington. Its captivating beauty and the surrounding natural landscape make every step of the hike worthwhile.

Along the South Fork of the Skykomish River, the stunning Bridal Veil Falls is a 1,291-foot cascade.
Along the South Fork of the Skykomish River, the stunning Bridal Veil Falls is a 1,291-foot cascade.

7. Falls Creek Falls

Have you ever dreamed of discovering a waterfall that feels like a well-kept secret? Falls Creek Falls might just be the answer. Situated near Carson, this three-tiered wonder is a spectacle of nature’s artistry, with water cascading down over 200 feet of rocky terrain.

Spanning approximately 3.4 miles round trip, the trail to the falls offers a mix of terrains, from mossy forest floors to wooden bridges crossing over bubbling streams. Approaching the falls, the forest canopy opens up, revealing the majestic sight of water tumbling down in rhythmic harmony.

While the trail is suitable for most hikers, it’s worth noting that the final stretch can be a bit challenging with some steep sections. If you’re visiting in spring, you’re in for a treat as the flow is at its peak, creating a powerful display. Don’t forget to bring a camera; the photogenic nature of Falls Creek Falls is hard to resist.

Falls Creek Falls stands out as one of the best waterfalls in Washington. It offers both a visual treat and a memorable hiking experience. It’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in WA and I recommend everyone to visit.

A hike along the lovely Falls Creek leads to the three-tiered Falls Creek Falls, one of Washington's highest waterfalls.
A hike along the lovely Falls Creek leads to the three-tiered Falls Creek Falls, one of Washington’s highest waterfalls.

8. Spray Falls

Ever thought about combining a refreshing waterfall visit with an alpine lake adventure? Spray Falls offers just that. Located within Mount Rainier National Park, this waterfall is a sight to behold, especially when it’s at full flow, spraying mist all around, living up to its name.

Starting at the Mowich Lake trailhead, the path to the falls is a scenic journey. You’ll traverse through wildflower meadows, past babbling brooks, and under the shade of towering pines. The 6.6-mile round trip might sound lengthy. However, the diverse landscapes and the anticipation of the falls ahead make time fly.

If you’re visiting during summer, consider packing a light picnic. There are numerous spots along the trail, perfect for a break with a view. And for those keen on extending their adventure, Spray Park, located just beyond the falls, offers panoramic views of Mount Rainier and its surrounding beauty.

Heading back from Spray Falls, reflecting on the day’s adventure, you’ll likely find it ranking high on your list of the best waterfalls in Washington State. The combination of pristine nature and the thrill of discovery is truly unmatched.

Spray Falls is a waterfall in the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.
Spray Falls is a waterfall in the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

9. Panther Creek Falls

A symphony of water and nature, Panther Creek Falls is one of Washington’s best waterfalls that seems to leap straight out of a fairy tale. Cascading over moss-covered rocks in multiple streams, the falls create a mesmerizing pattern, drawing visitors into its enchanting embrace. The lush greenery surrounding the falls adds to the ambiance, which makes it a dreamy escape from the everyday hustle.

Perfectly positioned near the town of Carson, Panther Creek Falls attracts a diverse crowd. It’s a favorite among young adventurers looking for Instagram-worthy spots, couples seeking a romantic backdrop, and even families introducing the wonders of nature to their little ones. Its proximity to larger cities like Vancouver and Portland also makes it a popular day-trip destination for urban dwellers craving a quick nature retreat.

Given the falls’ secluded location, it’s an excellent spot for those seeking tranquility. However, the path can be a bit slippery, especially after rain, so wearing shoes with good grip is advisable. For photography enthusiasts, the soft morning light offers the perfect conditions to capture the falls in all their glory.

Once you depart from Panther Creek Falls, there’s a sense of rejuvenation. It’s no wonder that this cascade is often highlighted as one of the best places to visit in Washington State for its sheer beauty and accessibility.

Panther Creek Falls draws a wide variety of visitors thanks to its ideal location close to the town of Carson.
Panther Creek Falls draws a wide variety of visitors thanks to its ideal location close to the town of Carson.

10. Deception Falls

Stepping into the realm of Deception Falls feels like entering an ancient, untouched world. The roar of the water, combined with the dense canopy overhead, transports visitors to a place where nature reigns supreme. The falls, with their powerful torrents and intricate patterns, remind visitors of the raw beauty of Washington’s landscapes.

Situated just off Highway 2, near the town of Skykomish, Deception Falls is more than just a pit stop. It’s a haven for road trippers exploring the Cascade Loop, adventure seekers on their way to other destinations, and even solo travelers in search of solace. The intertwining trails around the falls offer various perspectives, from overhead bridges to close-up viewpoints, ensuring a comprehensive experience.

If you’re traveling during the fall season, Deception Falls becomes even more magical. The autumn foliage, combined with the mist from the falls, creates a dreamlike atmosphere. While there’s ample parking, it’s always a good idea to check for any road or trail closures before heading out, especially during the off-season.

Deception Falls is one of those unexpected delights that add a splash of adventure to any journey through Washington State. With each visit, there’s always a new detail to discover and a new memory to make. Discover one of WA’s most beautiful waterfalls for yourself!

Make your Washington adventure even more incredible and visit Deception Falls.
Make your Washington adventure even more incredible by visiting Deception Falls.

11. Myrtle Falls

Ever wondered where photographers find the ultimate backdrop to showcase Washington’s wild beauty? Myrtle Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is that very spot. With Mount Rainier framing the waterfall, this location embodies the pure essence of Washington’s natural charm.

Mount Rainier National Park, home to Myrtle Falls, is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re pondering what to do on in Washington State on a sunny day, the park brims with activities. From observing local wildlife to meandering through vibrant wildflower meadows in summer, each visit promises unique memories.

The allure of Myrtle Falls is especially striking during the early morning or late afternoon when nature’s colors are at their most vibrant. For those based in nearby cities like Tacoma or Puyallup, the park is a manageable drive away. Once at the park, the shuttle service, which primarily departs from the Nisqually Entrance near Ashford, ensures easy access to key attractions. This includes Myrtle Falls.

With its proximity to urban centers and the convenience of shuttle services, Myrtle Falls stands out as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State. Its accessibility and sheer beauty make it a top pick for both locals and visitors eager to experience the best of the Pacific Northwest.

Located in Mount Rainier National Park, Myrtle Falls is a sight to behold.
Located in Mount Rainier National Park, Myrtle Falls is a sight to behold.

12. Boulder River Waterfall

Amidst the dense forests of the North Cascades, a hidden gem awaits discovery: Boulder River Waterfall. This secluded cascade, surrounded by ancient trees and moss-covered boulders, offers a serene escape from the outside world. The water’s journey, weaving through the rugged terrain and spilling over mossy cliffs, is a sight that evokes a sense of wonder and tranquility.

Not far from the town of Darrington, Boulder River Waterfall remains a cherished spot for those in the know. Its off-the-beaten-path location ensures a peaceful experience, where the melodies of nature take center stage.

The Boulder River Trail leading to the falls is relatively flat. This makes it suitable for families and hikers of all levels. If you’re visiting on a rainy day, be prepared for a more voluminous and dramatic waterfall display. And for a touch of local flavor, consider stopping by Darrington for a bite or a quick tour. It’s definitely a quaint town with its own set of charms.

As we conclude our tour of Washington’s waterfalls, Boulder River Waterfall stands as a reminder of the state’s hidden treasures. It’s a place where nature’s beauty shines in its purest form, earning its spot as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.

The breathtaking Boulder River Waterfall is a treasure hidden among the North Cascades' forests.
The breathtaking Boulder River Waterfall is a treasure hidden among the North Cascades’ forests.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Waterfalls in WA:

Are you eager to learn more about Washington’s best waterfalls? Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about where to go in Washington State to see the best waterfalls.

How many waterfalls are in Washington?

Washington State boasts a staggering number of over 3,000 waterfalls because of its diverse topography and consistent rainfall. These range from gentle cascades hidden deep within temperate rainforests to majestic plunges visible from well-traveled roads. The state’s unique combination of mountain ranges, abundant precipitation, and varied landscapes makes it a haven for waterfall enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

What is the biggest waterfall in Washington State?

While many of Washington’s waterfalls are renowned for their beauty, Dry Falls claims the title of the biggest waterfall in WA. Interestingly, despite its name, Dry Falls doesn’t currently have water flowing over it. Located in Central Washington, it stands as a relic from the last Ice Age. Historically, it was one of the largest waterfalls on Earth, dwarfing even the current size of Niagara Falls. Today, visitors can marvel at the sheer size of the cliff and imagine the immense flow that once cascaded over it.

What is the official waterfall of Washington State?

Palouse Falls has the distinguished honor of being Washington State’s official waterfall. Nestled in the southeastern part of the state, its raw beauty and geological importance led to its official designation in 2014. Dropping from a height of 198 feet and surrounded by unique basalt rock formations, Palouse Falls offers a mesmerizing view. This is especially so during the spring runoff. It’s one of the most famous falls in Washington State that all outdoor lovers should visit.

Palouse Falls is a waterfall on the Palouse River.
Palouse Falls is a waterfall on the Palouse River.

Are there any waterfalls in Washington that are accessible without hiking?

Washington offers several waterfalls that require minimal to no hiking. Snoqualmie Falls, for instance, is one of the state’s most visited attractions and can be viewed from an easily accessible observation deck.

Similarly, Christine Falls in Mount Rainier National Park has a viewpoint just off the road. Narada Falls, also in Mount Rainier National Park, offers a stunning view from the parking area, though those who venture a short distance down the trail get an even more impressive perspective.

When is the best time to visit Washington’s waterfalls?

Washington’s waterfalls are a treat to visit throughout the year, but spring stands out as a particularly special time. This is when melting snow from the mountains and seasonal rains feed the rivers and streams, leading to powerful and voluminous cascades. The backdrop of blooming wildflowers in many areas further enhances the experience. However, each season offers its charm: winter can transform falls into icy spectacles, while fall’s colorful foliage provides a stunning contrast to the flowing waters.

What is the largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest?

The largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest in terms of water volume is Snoqualmie Falls, located near Snoqualmie, Washington. It’s a spectacular 268-foot waterfall on the Snoqualmie River. While there are taller waterfalls in the region, Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most famous and is a significant cultural and spiritual site for the local Native American tribes. It also attracts numerous visitors each year, both for its natural beauty and the adjacent park facilities.

Which waterfalls in Washington are accessible using public transport?

While many of Washington’s waterfalls are located in more remote areas, there are a few that can be reached using public transportation. Snoqualmie Falls, one of the state’s most iconic cascades, can be accessed via King County Metro buses from Seattle.

Additionally, during the summer months, special shuttle services often operate in popular areas like Mount Rainier National Park. This provides access to falls such as Narada Falls and Christine Falls.

It’s always a good idea to check the current bus or shuttle schedules and routes in advance, as they can change seasonally. Utilizing public transport not only reduces one’s carbon footprint but also offers a stress-free way to enjoy the scenic beauty en route to these natural wonders.

Final Thoughts on Washington States’ Best Waterfalls

Washington State shines as a beacon of natural beauty, and its waterfalls are the crown jewels. Each waterfall, from the towering giants to the gentle cascades, offers a unique spectacle, capturing the essence of the Pacific Northwest’s charm.

Exploring these waterfalls, you’ll discover the heart of Washington. The roar of the water, the lush green surroundings, and the sheer majesty of the falls create an experience that lingers in memory. It’s no wonder that seeking out these beautiful waterfalls ranks high among the top things to do in Washington.

As our journey through Washington’s water wonders concludes, one thing is clear: the state’s allure goes beyond its cities and landmarks. The waterfalls beckon, promising enchantment, and a deeper connection to nature. Dive into the adventure and let Washington’s waterfalls guide your way.

The best waterfalls in Washington State for all types of travelers
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