14 Top-Rated Waterfalls in Washington State

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Mar 8, 2023
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Author Brad Lane lives in the Pacific Northwest and loves the many waterfalls and other outstanding natural features in Washington.

Among many Washington wonders, the state displays a wide range of beautiful waterfalls that leave a lasting impression. Waterfalls are most prevalent in the watery west side of the state. Places like Palouse Falls in eastern Washington, however, do well to represent eastern Washington.

Palouse Falls, Palouse Falls State Park, Washington
Palouse Falls, Palouse Falls State Park, Washington

State and national parks in Washington are home to some of the best waterfalls in the state. Spray Falls in Mount Rainier stands out in a region of prominent natural landmarks. And, on the Olympic Peninsula, Marymere Falls offers a classic adventure opportunity and photo-op.

City waterfalls like Spokane Falls are also worth a visit. As are Whatcom Falls within Bellingham, where the water is surrounded by a lovely city park of its own name.

Scenic appeal is also found at Tumwater Falls Park, just outside the state capital of Olympia. For waterfall hikes close to Seattle, look no farther than Franklin Falls in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Find more places to visit with our list of the best waterfalls in Washington state.

1. Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls is arguably Washington's most famous waterfall. It's also one of the best waterfalls near Seattle, located less than an hour east of the Emerald City.

Long before this 270-foot waterfall premiered in the opening credits of the cult classic TV show Twin Peaks, the area surrounding the falls was an important meeting ground for native cultures. Visitors today can appreciate the gravity of the falls with an interpretive trail and lodge nearby.

The Salish Lodge and Spa has views of the falls and provides a four-star stay with fine dining and spa services. A closer look at the moving water is a short walk along a less-than-a-mile interpretive trail below the falls.

Summer brings the warmest weather and largest crowds to Snoqualmie Falls. However, Snoqualmie has its largest flow during the spring and corresponding snowmelt.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Snoqualmie, WA

2. Spray Falls, Mount Rainier National Park

Spray Falls
Spray Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Spray Falls is one of many great hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, located in the northwest Mowich Lake region of the park. It's a moderate 2.25-mile hike to reach this 350-plus-foot waterfall tumbling down the side of a cliff.

Hikers begin the trek by hopping on a small part of the Wonderland Trail — the only hiking trail that circles Mount Rainier. The trail undulates as it travels to Spray Falls and passes by the Eagle's Cliff overlook, which offers a great view. After a short spur trail to approach the falls, the cloud of mist from Spray Falls lends credence to its name. Visitors view the falls from afar or carefully navigate massive boulders to take a closer look.

It's a manageable day hike to Spray Falls and back. The trail continues into the alpine meadows of Spray Park for a more strenuous endeavor. The wildflower meadows at Spray Park are in full bloom during the height of summer. It's a considerable amount of elevation gain to reach Spray Park, and visitors should plan for the whole day if visiting.

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3. Palouse Falls, Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls

This ancient, Ice-Age waterfall is one of the state's top tourist attractions. Located in eastern Washington, 40 miles north of Walla Walla. It's designated as Washington's state waterfall and incorporates a 200-foot drop, a massive bowl, and a stunning gorge. Palouse Falls State Park is the best place to go for visitor resources, located on the western banks of the Palouse River below the falls.

Alongside primitive camping opportunities, the state park features three dramatic observation points. The lower observation point is universally accessible and provides a popular spot to bring a tripod or art easel. It's a remote landscape surrounding Palouse Falls, and visitors should plan their trip accordingly.

The summer months in this part of Washington include stifling heat throughout the day. It's advised to visit Palouse Falls in the cooler parts of the year. Plan to visit near the crack of dawn if traveling in the summer.

Read More: Best State & National Parks in Washington

4. Franklin Falls, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Franklin Falls
Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls is another popular waterfall near Seattle, located within an hour's drive east of the city. It's a short hike to reach this stunning waterfall in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The path to the falls has very minimal elevation gain and is well maintained by trail crews and trail users. The short hike and easy path also make Franklin Falls one of the state's most popular family waterfall hikes.

The trail follows the south fork of the Snoqualmie River. While Franklin drops an impressive 135 feet over three tiers, only the bottom 70 feet of the waterfall is visible from the trail. A slippery path leads down closer to the pool underneath the falls, where the misty atmosphere offers a great place to cool off during the summer.

Read More: Best National Forests in Washington State

5. Spokane Falls, Spokane

Spokane Falls and Huntington Park
Spokane Falls and Huntington Park

This set of two waterfalls is a defining attraction of Spokane's Riverfront Park and offers one of the best urban waterfalls in the country. Now at the center of downtown Spokane, the Lower and Upper Spokane Falls have a long history in the area. Once a prominent gathering spot for native cultures, the falls are now intertwined with the city and its hydroelectric capabilities.

Spokane Falls retains its natural appeal amid city development. Near City Hall, Huntington Park is one of the best places to see Lower Falls from land. Riverfront Park also features a SkyRide that includes an enclosed-cabin cable ride over the lower falls. Two spanning pedestrian bridges offer the best views of Upper Falls.

6. Whatcom Falls, Bellingham

Whatcom Falls Park
Whatcom Falls Park

Whatcom Falls is one of the top attractions in Bellingham and the centerpiece attraction of a park of its own name.

A Civilian Conservation Corps-era bridge welcomes guests to Whatcom Falls Park. The bridge also provides an excellent viewing platform for the falls. Over three miles of trails traverse Whatcom Falls Park and lead to other picturesque water features along Whatcom Creek.

Other amenities at the park include picnic shelters, interpretive displays, and a playground. The park also features a fish hatchery with educational resources about the local habitat. A popular swimming hole is farther into the park, where crowds often gather in the summer.

Read More: Best Hikes in Bellingham, WA

7. Twin Falls, Olallie State Park

Twin Falls
Twin Falls

Twin Falls is another famous waterfall hike near Seattle. This 165-foot waterfall is within Olallie State Park, less than an hour from the city. A 2.5-mile hike leads hikers to an excellent viewpoint of the falls. The trail begins adjacent to the south fork of the Snoqualmie River and offers several opportunities to take a quick dip if the weather is warm.

The collection of cascading features known as Twin Falls isn't the only water feature in Olallie State Park. A shorter trail within the park leads visitors from the South Fork Picnic Area to the 77-foot Weeks Falls.

The park is also a popular spot for mountain biking and other hiking trails. A portion of the 212-mile Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail traverses through the park.

Read More: Top-Rated Hikes near Seattle, WA

8. Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park

Marymere Falls in Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park
Marymere Falls in Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Marymere Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington. The 90-foot waterfall is a great spot to hike and enjoy a packed lunch. The trail to the falls is also one of Olympic National Park's best hiking trails.

The trailhead for Marymere Falls is on the north side of the peninsula, 30 minutes west of Port Angeles on Highway 101. It's less than a two-mile round-trip hike to Marymere Falls on a flat path that traverses through an old-growth forest. It only takes about an hour to make the trip to Marymere Falls and back, but the stunning scenery encourages slower trips.

Marymere Falls is a popular destination in the park, much in thanks to its easy accessibility. The trailhead is also located near the shoreline of Lake Crescent, as well as the Lake Crescent Lodge, which is one of the best places to stay near Olympic National Park.

9. Panther Creek Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Panther Creek Falls
Panther Creek Falls

Ten miles north of the Columbia River Gorge, Panther Creek Falls offers a family-friendly hike and a massive waterfall. From Forest Service Road 65, it's less than a half-mile hike to a viewing platform of the falls. Panther Creek Falls plummets nearly 70 feet into a churning blue pool. A series of even taller rivulets cascade down the same rock face for extra scenic appeal.

This entire region of the Pacific Northwest is well known for its waterfalls. The three-tiered Falls Creek Falls is another fantastic waterfall nearby. On the other side of the river to the south, the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge is home to many of the best waterfalls in Oregon, including the 620-foot-tall Multnomah Falls.

If you're in need of some rest after a day of hiking, head to Carson Hot Springs Resort for a relaxing dip in one of Washington's best hot springs.

10. Wallace Falls, Wallace Falls State Park

Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls features a cascading attraction at the end of a rewarding hike. The waterfall is in the Cascade Mountains and under an hour east of Seattle, surrounded by a state park of its own name.

This 265-foot waterfall is accessible by a 2.8-mile hiking trail. It's over 1,300 feet of elevation gain to reach the upper falls, much of which is gained through a series of steep switchbacks at the end of the trail. Visitors not looking to test their legs will find an excellent view of the middle falls before the trail takes a steep turn.

Wallace Falls is a popular hiking trail close to Seattle, and on summer weekends, an early start can avoid most of the crowds. Alongside the 5.6-mile round-trip to see the upper falls, Wallace Falls State Park features nearly 10 more miles of hiking trails.

11. Iron Creek Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Iron Creek Falls
Iron Creek Falls

This wild waterfall is accessible with a short hike northeast of Mount St. Helens in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. From Forest Service Road 25, it's a steep tenth of a mile hike down to Iron Creek and its namesake falls. The waterfall isn't the most photographed in the state, which means it's easier to find time to enjoy this moving feature by yourself.

The tumbling Iron Creek Falls flows the heaviest in late spring and early summer. As the summer season progresses, the rocky shore surrounding the pool created by Iron Creek Falls becomes more accessible to explore.

For a place to spend the night nearby, the Iron Creek Campground is one of the best places to camp near Mount St. Helens, offering primitive sites just 10 miles north on Forest Service Road 25.

Read More: Top-Rated Hiking Trails at Mount St. Helens

12. Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park
Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Falls is another popular waterfall destination within Olympic National Park, located in far northwest Washington. The falls' trailhead is in the northwest area of the park, accessible via a paved road extending from the Lake Crescent area. This deep part of the park draws a lot of attention, and most visitors make the short hike to see Sol Duc Falls.

It's less than a mile hike to see Sol Duc Falls on fairly level terrain. This easy approach makes Sol Duc a popular family-friendly waterfall hike in Olympic National Park. And, its short approach delivers several cascades dropping into a narrow river canyon, surrounded by a large viewing area and platforms.

The trail continues well beyond the falls into the Seven Lakes Basin of the park, where clear views of Mount Olympus await. Visitors may also want to check out Sol Duc Hot Springs, not far from the trailhead, offering one of the few Olympic commercial hot spring resorts.

Accommodation: Best Lodging Options for Olympic National Park

Read More: From Seattle to Olympic National Park: Best Ways to Get There

13. Lewis River Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Lower Lewis River Falls
Lower Lewis River Falls

Lewis River Falls is an easily accessible waterfall in Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southern Washington, just west of Mount Baker. It's part of the larger Lewis River Recreation Area, encompassing a stunning 10-mile corridor of rushing water and old-growth forests.

Lewis River Falls has Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls, all connected by a hiking trail. The Lower Falls tend to garnish the most notoriety at nearly 60 feet tall and 175 feet across. This impressive span is also closest to facilities, including the Lower Falls Campground. It's a short hike upstream to visit the other falls.

14. Tumwater Falls, Brewery Park

The upper falls at Tumwater Falls Park
The upper falls at Tumwater Falls Park

In the historic city of Tumwater, south of Olympia, this manicured space features several falls on the Deschutes River. Olympia Tumwater Foundation maintains this 15-acre park surrounding the river, offering a popular spot to enjoy the afternoon. Manicured green space and 1.5 miles of hiking trails comprise the rest of Brewery Park alongside the rushing water.

Interpretive information throughout the park details the history of the area. Several scenic footbridges cross the Deschutes River and give a high vantage point of the cascading water.

During September and October, visitors can witness salmon as they make their way up the constructed fish ladder in the river. This landscaped space is also commonly known as Tumwater Falls Park.

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