Description - The Palouse represents idyllic America a land of amber waves and warmhearted people. The long, peaceful roads are perfect for bike touring or scenic drives. Rolling fields, punctuated with historic towns, 19th century architecture and remnants of pioneer farms, create a photographers dream. It is one of the richest wheat-growing regions in the world, but the Palouse is far more than just picturesque farm country.
In addition to the mountains, gorges and sprawling agricultural beauty, the Palouse is a place rich in history, dating back more than 10,000 years. Native Americans were here first, then Lewis & Clark passed through nearly two centuries ago on their journey to the mouth of the Columbia. They were likely the first non-indigenous people to set foot in Washington. In the fall of 1805, when westward bound, the Lewis & Clark Expedition arrived at the junction of two great rivers. One was the mighty Snake and it seems they established a camp on the bank of the other, the
Clearwater. The expedition also camped on the banks of Patit Creek, a short distance from the Columbia County Courthouse, now newly restored, which remains as the oldest courthouse in the state. Take a walking tour of 83 houses on the National Historic Register or visit the Boomerang Newspaper and Printing Museum, which maintains equipment used by early day printers. This fully operational, antique equipment and the extensive collection of county newspapers provide a unique opportunity to explore and research letterpress printing methods as well as local history.
- Ride a raft down, and a jet boat up, the Snake River through Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in
North America. Nearby, take in spectacular Palouse Falls, where the Palouse River tumbles
198 feet over layers of basalt lava deposited here during the last Ice Age. Or explore the wilderness of the 1.4 million-acre Umatilla National Forest with its rugged backcountry of peaks and canyons. The forest is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and horsepacking. Keep your eyes open for Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, deer, cougar and black bear. If skiing is your passion, shoosh through deep powder (300 annual inches) on the slopes of the nearby Blue Mountains. The second-highest base elevation in the state is found here along with clear skies and luxuriously short lift lines.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities abound in the Palouse region. Visitors will find hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, boating, bird watching, fishing, golfing, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Climate - Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
The Palouse region is located in the southeastern corner of Washington. The Palouse can be accessed via Hwy. 26, Hwy. 12 and Hwy. 195.