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A Trip to Summer Falls in Washington

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

The Majestic Summer Falls

During a camping getaway to Soap Lake, Washington, in the fall of 2021, my traveling partner (aka husband) and I did some sightseeing in the area. We made our base camp at the Smokium RV Resort, which gave us easy access to nearby sights such as the Lenore Caves, Summer Falls, and Dry Falls. I've written about more of our eastern Washington travel adventures, they are linked at the end of this article.

Summer Falls, Washington

Summer Falls, Washington

Travelers worldwide come to the beautiful swaths of Washington's eastern portion to soak in the healing waters of Soap Lake and enjoy the breathtaking desert views. For those doing so, a visit to the sublime Summer Falls is a must on your itinerary.

Our trip was during the late fall season and therefore, we forwent the soak in the mineral waters of the Soap Lake and instead chased waterfalls.

"Mother Nature is

the greatest artist

and water is one of

her favorite

brushes."

— Rico Besserdich

In the central part of eastern Washington, Summer Falls is accessed from Highway 2 in Coulee City. Crossing the Dry Falls Dam along Highway 2, turn right at the sign pointing to Coulee City (N 4th St). Drive four blocks and turn left on W. Walnut Street, following signs for Summer Falls, then turn right on McEntee Street, again watching for signs to Summer Falls. McEntee turns into Pinto Road, follow this for eight miles to an unmarked dirt road on the left (2 1/2 miles after crossing the North Main Canal—if you start driving up a long hill, you've gone too far).

A sign denoting the Falls and a gate are found just down the road but are hard to see from the main road. The Falls are located a mile further down the dirt road at the park. Ample parking is available, but be sure to display your Discover Pass.

Advice from a Waterfall

Let your cares fall away

Roar with excitement

Go with the flow

Make a splash!

Stay active

Create your own music

Immerse yourself in nature.

— Ilan Shamir

Proper Protective Snake Guard Gear

The sage steppe surrounding the park is generally easy walking through short prairie grasses, but long pants or ankle gaiters are recommended if you go off-trail. We came prepared with our full-length snake guard chaps since we knew we would be hiking around the Lenore Caves and the surrounding area. We didn't feel a need for them while staying in the designated park of Summer Falls, but we were prepared.

"As long as I live,

I'll hear

waterfalls

and birds

and winds

sing."

— John Muir

Summer Falls State Park

Summer Falls State Park is located on the northern end of Billy Clapp Lake; it has approximately five miles of shoreline and offers picnicking, fishing, hiking, and great views of Summer Falls. The majority of the surrounding shoreline is steep and rocky with high basalt walls; getting off the beaten path may be daunting.

We found the park to be well-manicured and pristinely clean; it was very inviting, and we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon there soaking in the magnificent sights and sounds of the falls.

Summer Falls State Park is a day-use park only and therefore no camping is allowed.

Maintained footpath with stone barrier.

Maintained footpath with stone barrier.

Warning No Trespassing

A narrow footpath can be followed along the shoreline to get a closer look at the falls. However, a stone wall and chain barricade were created to detour visitors from accessing the sometimes turbulent water. Due to some unfortunate teen deaths during the late '70s, a "No Trespassing" sign is now posted at the end of the walking path for safety measures. You are not allowed to swim in the area due to a strong undercurrent created by the falls!

We witnessed several groups of people who ignored the warning signs and continued onward, traversing the rugged basalt rocks and unkept trail to make a memory of journeying behind the waterfalls. A rare and monumental moment, but one must wary of the risks at hand.

I love the water. I can

concentrate and forget

all my worries. I count

my blessings while

fishing.

— George W. Bush

Afternoon fishing

Afternoon fishing

Catch of the Day—A Brilliant View of the Falls

We tried fishing, but the only thing we caught on this particular afternoon was a lot of wind. A constant warm breeze kept bringing our lines back into the shoreline. We moved our location and still got defeated by the wind and fish that day. It didn't matter though, the view of the falls was stunning, and spending the day together in such a tranquil environment was catch enough for both of us.

Billy Clapp Lake is formed by Pinto Dam which is part of the Columbia Basin Project. The lake is fed by waters diverted from the Columbia River.

Billy Clapp Lake is formed by Pinto Dam which is part of the Columbia Basin Project. The lake is fed by waters diverted from the Columbia River.

We Give Summer Falls a 10 Out of 10!

Visiting Summer Falls felt like "finding a pot of gold" at the end of a rainbow kind of day! It was refreshing and beautiful, and listening to the rush of the water cascading down the base of the basalt rock was magnificent music to our ears. We would most certainly recommend you make time to visit this spectacular hidden gem.

More Sights in Eastern Washington

  • Eastern Washington Camping at Soap Lake
    A shared camping experience at the Smokium RV Resort located on the majestic mineral waters of Soap Lake in Eastern Washington. Visitors travel from around the world to soak in its healing waters.

"There's no better place to find yourself than sitting by a waterfall and listening to its music."

— Roland R Kemler

© 2021 Nana