Skip to main content

A Trip to Dry Falls State Park in Eastern Washington

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Kimberly enjoys sharing her love of camping and outdoor adventures. Spending time in nature is her all-time favorite, happy place!

Welcome to Dry Falls State Park

Welcome to Dry Falls State Park

I'm delighted to share our fall escapade with you. My adventure partner (aka husband) and I camped in Eastern Washington on the mineral waters of Soap Lake for an extended weekend and sought out the local sites, such as Summer Falls, the Lenore Caves, and the astounding Dry Falls (a mere 17 miles from our home base at the Smokium RV Camping Resort).

Dry Falls

Dry Falls

Once the World’s Largest Waterfall

According to Wikipedia, Dry Falls is a 3.5-mile-long scalloped precipice with four major alcoves in central Washington scablands. This cataract complex is on the opposite side of the Upper Grand Coulee from the Columbia River and at the head of the Lower Grand Coulee at the northern end of Lenore Canyon.

As the name suggests, Dry Falls no longer carries water but is the remnant of the largest waterfall known to have existed, formed by the Ice Age Floods.

Dry Falls

Dry Falls

"Get lost in Nature, and You will find yourself."

— Unknown

Spectacular Views

We began our trip to Dry Falls by accessing Dry Falls Lake via a dirt road and soaking in the enormous views from the bottom of the former Falls. The landscape is the prime example of a rocky, shrub-steppe canyon bounded by spectacular thousand-foot basalt cliffs and talus slopes.

Standing in the presence of this gigantic, ancient wonder sent shivers down my spine. We imagined the ice age flooding that created such a vast expanse of basalt rock formations. It was a stellar sight to behold.

From our view, looking up, we could see the white, rectangular Dry Falls Visitor Center 400 feet above along the coulee wall to the west, which we visited on our way home from our camping trip for an over-the-top view.

"Look with open eyes, and you will see the beauty of the waterfall."

— Anthony Hincks

This narrow basalt formation is known as Umatilla Rock. It runs down the middle of the coulee for over a mile, dividing it nearly in half.

This narrow basalt formation is known as Umatilla Rock. It runs down the middle of the coulee for over a mile, dividing it nearly in half.

Umatilla Rock

Umatilla Rock is a large basalt rock that resisted erosion by the Great Floods. At an elevation of 1,535 feet, it's located downstream of the Falls, the Central Park, and Resort and close to Perch Lake.

A View from the Dry Falls Visitor Center

A View from the Dry Falls Visitor Center

Stop at the Visitor's Center

Visitors, especially history and geology enthusiasts, will appreciate the Dry Falls Visitor Center, where interpretive displays tell the story of the floods and their effects on Washington's landscape.

Dry Falls Interpretive Center (a large white rectangular building) is located two miles north of the central park on Highway 17. Unfortunately, it was closed mid-week when we stopped by for a visit.


The Discover Pass is required for parking. Admission into the center is free, with donations accepted.


  • 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Monday
  • Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Note: The theater is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A Must See!

Today, Dry Falls remains a spectacular monolith even without water flow. Even though it's not your typical waterfall, you can still be mesmerized by its profound geological formations. I highly recommend that you experience this fantastic dormant Ice Age "waterfall" for yourself.

Directions to Dry Falls in Eastern Washington

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Nana

Related Articles