I’ve visited Washington numerous times and I can tell you that it has some amazing waterfall hikes to explore, some on the coastline and some deep within the state. In this post, you’re going to see 10 of them, complete with details on where they are and what to expect from every hike (distances, difficulty levels, what to know, ect…).
How many waterfalls are there in Washington State?
Well over 1,000. Most of them happen to be along hiking trails but I can’t exactly list out all of them. We’re just going to focus on the top 10 based on reviews and popularity.
Here are the 10 best waterfall hikes in Washington State:
- Panther Creek Falls hike.
- Strawberry Falls hike.
- Falls View Canyon hike.
- Walupt Creek Falls hike.
- Marymere Falls hike.
- Keekwulee Falls hike.
- Lewis River Falls hike.
- Sol Duc Falls hike.
- Palouse Falls hike.
- Comet Falls hike.
- Bonus: Rocky Brook Falls hike.
You’ll find these waterfalls and hikes that lead to them all across the state and depending on which part of Washington you’re visiting, you’ll be able to explore a few or many of them.
1) Panther Creek Falls:
Description: Panther Creek Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls I’ve ever seen in my life and this picture alone is not enough to justify how beautiful it is in real life.
It’s a waterfall that cascades over a gorge and spread into many streams as it does.
Additionally, the great news is that it’s very easy to find and hike to as it’s located close to a main road in Washington (NF-65).
Height of waterfall: 100+ feet (cascading).
Location: It’s in Gifford Pinchot National Forest and is easy to find.
Hiking distance to waterfall: Less than 1/2 a mile from the trailhead. There’s also a viewing platform as well as the option to get right to the base of the waterfall.
Difficult of hike: Very easy.
Note: If you check out my list of waterfall hikes in Oregon and also my post on what to do in Columbia River Gorge, you’ll find at least 2 waterfalls that look like this.
2) Strawberry Falls:
Description: Strawberry Falls is located on Third Beach, on the Washington Coast and while there is no official hike leading up to it (because the waterfall goes straight into the Pacific Ocean), there is an option to view that waterfall from the beach itself, or go to the base of the waterfall when there’s low tide.
Strawberry Falls is one of the many beaches with waterfalls across the United States I highly recommend you check out.
Height of waterfall: 100+ feet.
Location: La Push, Washington.
Hiking distance to waterfall: 1-2 miles from the parking lot to the beach, then a few 100 feet to the waterfall.
There is also a very popular hike that takes you over that waterfall and to secret beaches on the coast I highly recommend checking out if you’re an advanced hiker.
Difficulty: Easy (at least to Third Beach).
3) Falls View Canyon:
Description: I’ve only been to this spot once and I almost missed it. The waterfall is beautiful, but to me, the hike to the overlook and the base of the waterfall is what really makes this worthwhile.
There is a parking lot available from which there are multiple trails to take you to this waterfall, as well as other spots nearby. The picture you see is me standing at the base of it (option 2) and the waterfall is just to the left of me.
The thing is, the day I hiked here, the waterfall was very low, which is why I couldn’t get a good view of it from the overlook, and had to hike down to get more of an experience with this hike.
Height of waterfall: 80 feet.
Location: Eastern side of Olympic National Park.
Hiking distance to waterfall: There’s 2 options.
- 1 will take you to an overlook of the waterfall and that’s only about 1/10 of a mile.
- The 2nd will take you to the bottom (base) of the waterfall which is about 1/4 a mile and a bit tougher (and slippery).
It’s easier to see the waterfall from the overlook than it is from the base though, but it’s still scenic in either spot.
4) Walupt Creek Falls:
Description: I’ve tried to hike to Walupt Creek Falls on 2 separate occasions, and each time, something ALWAYS happens that prevents me from doing it. Walupt Creek Falls is one of the most secretive hikes and waterfalls in all of Washington State and there is no official trail that leads to it, but there are some markers and easy ways to figure out where to go.
The thing that makes this waterfall hike worth it in my opinion is the waterfall itself which is absolutely amazing on many levels. It’s gargantuan and at the same time, mellow and structured in a way that is easy to walk up to and get amazing photos from. I’d only hike to this waterfall if you’re an advanced hiker, to avoid getting lost in the woods. Either way, prep properly for this hike before you go.
Note: There’s no picture for this here because this waterfall is not well known about, but a simple Google search for Walupt Creek Falls will show you exactly why this particular choice was put on this list. And once I finally go there myself, I’ll add the picture (and instructions on the hike too).
Height of waterfall: 200+ feet.
Location: Near Lewis County, WA.
Hiking distance to waterfall: About 2 miles one way (but tough terrain and no markers).
5) Marymere Falls:
Description: Marymere Falls is a really cool waterfall hike I’ve done before.
It’s not a huge waterfall, but there is an easy hike that’ll take you there and along the way, the scenery is stunning with gigantic trees almost the size of Redwoods.
Most of the hike is easy to navigate and there’s wooden guard rails to make sure you’re safe too.
Aside from this hike, make sure to check out Crescent Lake nearby, as it’s a very beautiful lake to explore.
Height of waterfall: 50 feet.
Location: Near Crescent Lake in Olympic National Park (north side of the national park).
Hiking distance to waterfall: About 3 miles in and out trail.
6) Keekwulee Falls:
Description: This is a very cool waterfall with swimming holes that is close to a popular ski resort in WA.
Depending on the season, this particular trail and waterfall hike is accessible to most people and it is often warned that during winter or rainy seasons, to avoid coming here as the water level in the river leading up to the waterfall is too difficult to pass.
But during Spring and Summer, it’s great and this is a popular waterfall hike people do.
Height of waterfall: 170+ feet.
Location: Near The Summit of Snoqualmie ski resort in WA (about 30 miles east of Seattle).
Hiking distance to waterfall: About 1 mile (one way).
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
7) Lewis River Falls:
Description: One of the most popular (and scenic) waterfalls (and hikes) in eastern Washington is Lewis River Falls.
It’s a huge and very wide waterfall with a swimming hole next to it as you can probably tell from the photo.
Height of waterfall: 40 feet high but over 200 feet wide.
Location: Near Lower Falls Campground, by Cougar, WA.
Hiking distance to waterfall: There’s 2 trails to consider here.
The first is the easiest as it’s in the campground (Lower Falls Campground) and from there, it’s under 1 mile to get to this waterfall.
The second is a 8-9 mile hike which is basically a road walk from Crab Creek Trailhead northeast to Lewis River Falls.
8) Sol Duc Falls:
Description: It’s likely that Sol Duc Falls is the most popular waterfall hike in all of Olympic National Park.
I’ve done it once and there’s a lot of good things to say.
First, the trail from the parking lot to the actual falls is stunning.
The second is that there is a bridge that takes you over the falls to view it, but there are other trails nearby and if you know where to go, you may even be able to get down to the base of the falls (not for beginners).
Also do note that there is another trail that goes around the river and people think it makes for a loop trail back to the parking area. It doesn’t (as I found out the hard way and had to walk through the river to get back to the parking lot).
Location: Olympic National Park (also by Lake Crescent).
Hiking distance to waterfall: Only 2 miles one way.
Difficulty: Easy (unless you try some of the other trails).
9) Palouse Falls:
Description: Of all the waterfalls on this list, Palouse is the most powerful to view.
At the same time, the hike to this waterfall is one of the easiest on the list.
The great news is that this location is very photogenic and there are ways to get to the bottom of the waterfall (advanced hikes).
Height of waterfall: Nearly 200 feet.
Location: Palouse Falls State Park.
Hiking distance to waterfall: Less than 1 mile one way (to overlook).
Another thing to consider is that this waterfall is in a state park and there are many other things you can do there, but of course, this waterfall is the main attraction.
Difficulty: Very easy.
10) Comet Falls:
Description: Comet Falls is the highest waterfall on this list and the hike to reach it is also one of the longest as well.
Yet, it’s very much worth it because it’s normally not as crowded as the other hikes on this list.
To get the full benefit of this hike, it’s recommended to come here between Spring and Fall to avoid the snows.
If you look at certain photos, the trail and river leading to this waterfall is frozen throughout half the year literally.
But if you can make it here, do it, because there’s some stunning scenery and photo opportunities to be taken. There’s also 4 drops to this waterfall and I couldn’t fit in the entire picture here to show you that (just know this).
Height of waterfall: Almost 400 feet.
Location: Near Pierce County, WA.
Hiking distance to waterfall: 3-4 miles (round trip).
11) Rocky Brook Falls:
Description: I’m amazed at this rarely I’ve seen this amazing waterfall get mentioned on other sites and it’s actually why I missed it so many times while traveling through Washington.
Rocky Brook Falls is easily one of the top waterfalls you will find in WA in my opinion and I would even say it’s less crowded than many others because it’s hard to find.
Ironically the way I did it was by using a strategy in my article on how to find waterfalls near me, where I literally was driving around Olympic National Park, typed in “waterfalls” on Google maps and this came up, and funny enough it wouldn’t the previous times I was here!
Height of waterfall: 100+ feet.
Location: About 40 minutes from Tacoma WA.
Hiking distance to waterfall: 1.5 miles.
Questions about waterfalls in Washington:
What is the largest waterfall in Washington State?
Technically Colonial Creek Falls is considered the largest waterfall in Washington, although it is a cascade waterfall. There is another very large one called called Palouse Falls.
How many waterfalls are in Washington?
There are about 100 or more officially listed waterfalls in Washington, although there are likely way more.
Why does Washington have so many waterfalls?
Washington actually doesn’t have that many waterfalls (over 100), but it does have many beautiful ones because the terrain and elevation of the state and also because there is a lot of rain there too.
Which Washington waterfall hike is your favorite on this list?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below and if you have any recommendations for others to add to the list, let me know!
Related: See popular waterfall hikes in Oregon and Arizona. More states with waterfall hikes will be added!
4 thoughts on “The 10 Best Waterfall Hikes to Explore in Washington State”
And the winner is, Drum roll please, LEWIS RIVER FALLS!! To be honest these are all beautiful sites and very well captured. Makes you wonder how they were formed, how they came to exist. Its a dream of mine to one day be able to visit amazing places like this where you just give yourself to nature and enjoy such breathtaking views. You’ve got yourself a big fan here. Thanks.
Thanks. I used to be like you as well in regards to wanting to see these kinds of spots. It honestly just takes will power and planning, then actually doing it. That’ll become a habit and that’s how I’ve been doing these trips to see these places. I personally do this twice a year and every time I try to find brand new areas to explore and if it’s a repeat path, to make sure I see new places on the same path I didn’t before. I would recommend you read my article on how to find easy hikes and use the same strategies I do. Odds are, you’ll find a lot of awesome hiking trails near or close by.
I just love waterfalls. You’ve captured some amazing images! My favorite waterfall on the list is Palouse Falls, because it’s easiest to get to (I’m not lazy, only in pain) and I could spend more time exploring.
However, I would really enjoy a swim in Lewis River Falls swim hole. It looks so beautiful, relaxing and hopefully healing. Do any of these waterfalls claim to have natural healing elements in them like those in Hot springs, AR and warm/hot springs?
There aren’t any on this list that I know off, but the Pacific Northwest does have hot springs (like in Oregon) and possibly in Washington. Other than this, healing elements is subjective. For me, I think any clean mountain water is itself an amazing element to drink and swim in (provided the weather is warm enough).