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The Palouse Hills

The Palouse is a region that covers parts of southeastern Washington and north-central Idaho, with some definitions also including parts of northeastern Oregon.

This page only covers the Washington portion of the Palouse region. For pages that cover other parts of the Palouse, see North Central Idaho and Eastern Oregon.


Map of Palouse (Washington)
  • 1 Spokane — largest city in eastern Washington, second largest in the state and third-largest in the Pacific Northwest Region; county seat of Spokane County and home to Gonzaga University and Whitworth University
  • 2 Spokane Valley a separate suburban city east of Spokane.
  • 3 Cheney — home of Eastern Washington University
  • 4 Liberty Lake
  • 5 Colfax — county seat of Whitman County
  • 6 Pullman — largest city in Whitman County and home of Washington State University
  • 7 Dayton — county seat of Columbia County
  • 8 Pomeroy — county seat of Garfield County
  • 9 Asotin — county seat of Asotin County

Other destinations[edit]

  • Nez Perce National Historical Park - Since time immemorial, the Nimiipuu or Nez Perce have lived among the rivers, canyons and prairies of the inland northwest
  • Hooper — Once thriving, now a ghost town. It was built by the McGregor Company based on the sheep-raising industry. In Whitman County, on the Palouse River just south of Highway 26, between Washtucna and Pampa.


For our purposes, the Palouse consists of Spokane, Whitman, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin counties. Portions of adjacent North Central Idaho are often included in the broader region.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Spokane International Airport, located in the region, offers air service to some cities in the western US: see the Spokane article for details. Other airports with commercial air service near this region include Walla Walla, Pasco and Pullman. The nearest major international airports are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or Portland International Airport, but they are 5-6 hours away by car. A connecting flight is recommended.

By train[edit]

Amtrak's Empire Builder stops at Spokane: this is the only train service to this region.

By car[edit]

Major east-west routes through this region are I-90 through Spokane and US-12 through the southern areas. US-195 is a major north-south route:

  • I-90 and US-395 run concurrently from Spokane to Ritzville. US Hwy 395 goes from Ritzville to Tri-cities and serves as the 'western edge' of Palouse country through Othello.
  • US-12 serves as the main east-west highway between Walla Walla to Lewiston, Idaho. It goes through Starbuck, Dayton and Pomeroy in southeastern Washington.
  • US-95 serves as the main north-south highway through the Palouse country. It runs from I-90 west of Spokane and winds its way down towards Lewiston, Idaho.
  • to OR-3 begins in Enterprise, Oregon. It winds it way through the Wenaha National Forest to Asotin, south of Lewiston, as WA-129.
  • & WA-26 begins from Exit 137 of I-90, west of the Columbia River, west of Ellensburg, to Colfax via Othello. Travelers coming from Seattle to WSU in Pullman (or anywhere in Whitman County) typically come through this way as a short cut. WA-272 continues east from Colfax to the town of Palouse near the Idaho border.

Get around[edit]


  • The Snake River Canyon carries the Snake River through the Palouse from Lewiston, Idaho, through an arc northwest then southwest, and finally empties it into the Columbia River at Burbank, near Pasco. The most popular site is just SW of Pullman near Lower Granite Dam. However, you cannot follow the river by car any further downstream. Due to the extensive backtracking that would be required, most people are only able to view one section of the canyon per road trip.
  • Spokane House Interpretive Center, N Riverside Park Dr. (via Nine Mile Rd. - WA Hwy 291), Nine Mile Falls, WA, +1-509 465-5064. summer: Sat 14-16h, Sun 10-16h, other times by arrangement. Telling the story of the oldest house in Washington state, and the Spokane Indians who lived here.
  • 1 Palouse Falls State Park (Caution: very remote location. US 12 to WA Hwy 261, or US 395 to WA Hwy 26 east to WA Hwy 261 south (avoid Nunamaker Rd. shortcut unless hiking), toll-free: +1-888-226-7688. By far, the largest waterfall east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington.
  • Spokane Plains Battlefield Monument, Four Lakes, WA (at the north end of Electric Ave., just south of the freeway.). Marks the site of a battle on Sept 1, 1858 where the US military decisively defeated a confederation of the Spokanes, Couer d’Alenes, Yakamas, Palouses, and other tribes.
  • 2 Steptoe Battlefield, S. Summit Loop, Rosalia, WA (From Seventh St., turn right onto Josephine Avenue, then turn right onto Summit Avenue to the park entrance.), +1 509 337-6457. summer: 06:30h - dusk, winter: 08:00 - dusk. A small 4-acre site with a monolith, marking where on May 17, 1858 a small US Army detachment was defeated by a larger force of Spokane, Palouse and Coeur D'Alene Native Americans. Steptoe Battlefield State Park Heritage Site (Q7611158) on Wikidata Steptoe Battlefield State Park on Wikipedia
  • Asotin County Museum, 215 Filmore Street, Asotin, +1-509-243-4659. Exhibits about the county's history, including examples of various kinds of buildings, such as a schoolhouse and Nez Perce tepee.





Coffee is hugely popular all across the Pacific Northwest including the Palouse area. Look for small road side espresso stands even in small towns.


Like the rest of Washington State, microbreweries and beer in general is hugely popular, and the area has many to offer for beer enthusiasts. Some brews can only be found in local stores or bars (some notable brewers don't even bottle their product). Ask your servers for local beer recommendations and search out regional microbrews in stores.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Walla Walla Often thought of as part of the Palouse region. However, the western boundary of the county is on the Columbia River.
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site (7 miles west of Walla Walla off of Highway 12), +1-509-522-6357. 08-18h summers, 08-16:30h other seasons, every day except three holidays. The 1847 Whitman "Massacre" horrified Americans and impacted the lives of the peoples of the Columbia Plateau for decades afterwards. Free.
This region travel guide to Palouse is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!