Forum Index > Trip Reports > Lyons Ferry and Palouse Falls April, 12, 2019
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSat Apr 13, 2019 8:49 am 
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These are two Wa state parks located along the lower reaches of Palouse River where it joins the Snake and Tucannon. With historic high levels of water in the past week I thought it time to see the falls which I've never visited.

I left SR 26 at Dusty taking highways 127 and 261 down through Starbuck and along the Tucannon River. It was pouring rain most of the way but stopped when I got to Lyons Ferry. I parked at the adjacent Habitat Management Unit and walked up the service road until an old two-track was visible heading up the slopes. It is green right now and I felt a bit like I was in the Scottish Highlands.

Fields of green. The rain finally let up when I started hiking.
Fields of green. The rain finally let up when I started hiking.
Across the Palouse River.
Across the Palouse River.
Where I'm headed.
Where I'm headed.
The mouth of the Palouse River is now a lake.
The mouth of the Palouse River is now a lake.
The Palouse River once flowed freely here. People lived in this area for more than 10,000 years.
The Palouse River once flowed freely here. People lived in this area for more than 10,000 years.
A delicate arch.
A delicate arch.

My goal was to walk up the highpoint in the area called 362 on the map. I figured there would be a good view from here and there is.

I walked up the slopes on game trails and spotted many deer along the way.

It's quite green after the wet spring but will soon be brown.
It's quite green after the wet spring but will soon be brown.
This was an old road but is becoming a single-track trail.
This was an old road but is becoming a single-track trail.
A peak to be bagged, 362.
A peak to be bagged, 362.
Plenty of deer around here.
Plenty of deer around here.
A trough and water collection system of some sort.
A trough and water collection system of some sort.
Following a game trail up 362.
Following a game trail up 362.
A coulee than runs parallel to my ridge hike. Train tracks pass through before entering a tunnel at the end.
A coulee than runs parallel to my ridge hike. Train tracks pass through before entering a tunnel at the end.
The area is open to hunting so deer are wary.
The area is open to hunting so deer are wary.
Busted.
Busted.
I've been spotted.
I've been spotted.

I could see Marmes Pond which I didn't know much about. This was an attempt to prevent an important archaeological site from being inundated when dams were constructed in the 1960's. Unfortunately water was able to flood in anyway and the Marmes Rock Shelter is now part of a fishing hole.

Lyons Ferry area. Three rivers join here; The Palouse, Tucannon and Snake.
Lyons Ferry area. Three rivers join here; The Palouse, Tucannon and Snake.
Marmes Pond. Marmes Rock Shelter is underwater there. The Palouse River is directly behind.
Marmes Pond. Marmes Rock Shelter is underwater there. The Palouse River is directly behind.
Peak 362.
Peak 362.
About to enter a tunnel.
About to enter a tunnel.
North.
North.
Distant Palouse Hills.
Distant Palouse Hills.
Lyons Head across the river above the trestle is where I'll be hiking later today.
Lyons Head across the river above the trestle is where I'll be hiking later today.
Water has backed up into the channel of the Palouse River since the construction of the Lower Monumental Dam. This area was noted by Lewis and Clark when they passed through here.
Water has backed up into the channel of the Palouse River since the construction of the Lower Monumental Dam. This area was noted by Lewis and Clark when they passed through here.
Marmes Pond below which was constructed to prevent water from entering Marmes Rock Shelter where many ancient artifacts were discovered dating back more than 10,000 years. It ultimately failed and is now a fishing hole.
Marmes Pond below which was constructed to prevent water from entering Marmes Rock Shelter where many ancient artifacts were discovered dating back more than 10,000 years. It ultimately failed and is now a fishing hole.
Hiking above basalt cliffs.
Hiking above basalt cliffs.

On the way down I passed by Old Bones Cemetery. These graves were moved up from the area below which was also flooded by the dams. Lewis and Clark noted a sizable population here when they came by in the early 1800's. These people were known as the Palus and the word Palouse is said to be derived from their name.

Old Bones Grave Site. 135 remains of Palouse Indians were moved here in 1964 when the Lower Monumental Dam raised the river level covering the original burial site.
Old Bones Grave Site. 135 remains of Palouse Indians were moved here in 1964 when the Lower Monumental Dam raised the river level covering the original burial site.

Being in the area I made a quick stop by Palouse Falls only 5 miles away. They are indeed raging right now. Trails were muddy and slick but folks seemed to not get too close to the edge.

Palouse Falls.
Palouse Falls.
Marmots at Palouse Falls State Park.
Marmots at Palouse Falls State Park.
Mom.
Mom.
Palouse River below the falls.
Palouse River below the falls.
There are many marmots and their young living around the parking area. They seem unfazed by the people coming and going.
There are many marmots and their young living around the parking area. They seem unfazed by the people coming and going.
The Palouse River has been above flood stage this week.
The Palouse River has been above flood stage this week.
Cliff at Palouse Falls.
Cliff at Palouse Falls.
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texasbb
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 10:54 am 
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up.gif

Looks like a perfect day for that.  Very nice pictures.  I really need to get out there.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 12:16 pm 
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up.gif   Nice.  I've only been there once.  I wish it was closer.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 12:17 pm 
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RichP wrote:
Mom.
Mom.

Yellow bellied I'm fairly sure, unlike the hoary marmots in the Cascades.
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Pyrites
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 12:51 pm 
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A lot concentrated in a few miles.

Watering trough by Parks?

Iíve wondered if solar electric farms could sometimes, some years, result in a net recharge of water table by similarly concentrating rainfall.

Has straw based pulp mill at SW corner of confluence started up?

Best.

Pyrites
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fourteen410
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 2:10 pm 
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Love seeing green in the scablands this time of year. Those graves are very cool. Thanks for sharing!
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostSat Apr 13, 2019 3:57 pm 
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Pyrites wrote:
Has straw based pulp mill at SW corner of confluence started up?

I'm not sure if it's up and running but they are hiring and must be very close. I wondered why all that straw was piled up in several locations in the area. Interesting project!

We should be doing the same with industrial hemp.

https://columbiapulp.com

There is also a huge concentration of wind farms in the area.
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glenoid
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 5:53 pm 
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Thanks for the TR in my home territory. My wife and I try to walk that trail about once a month all year. It is fun to see how the vegetation changes over a years time.  By fall the star thistle takes over and gaiters are required to keep out unwanted thorns in your socks. We call the hill "old bones" in honor of the graves below. The"two track" is actually a gravelled pathway that used to be mowed over for easier access to the grave markers. It was just wide enough for a four wheeler.
The Lyons Ferry bridge is actually the old bridge at Vantage that was disassembled and erected here. (The trip down to the Marmes site is nice. No fish there for the last 4 years, unless you like 30 pound carp living at the base of the cliffs in the Palouse river.) We have never run into anyone on this "trail" over the years we have hiked it. We would have been shocked to see you!!!
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RichP
here and there



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Location: Moscow, Id.
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here and there
PostSat Apr 13, 2019 8:20 pm 
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Thanks glenoid. I'll definitely go back and hike out to Marmes Pond. The whole area is fascinating.

Old Bones is a good name for that hill.  up.gif

This article from the Seattle Times sheds much light on the area.

https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/site-unseen-floodwaters-buried-a-treasure-trove-at-marmes-rockshelter/
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Anne Elk
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 9:43 pm 
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Amazing to see what the Palouse looks like in this season, Rich, especially the falls. Thanks for putting up such a comprehensive photo doc of your trip.   up.gif Reminds me of my only visit there in June of '91 while on a cross-country road trip.  Didn't see a single person when I was there, which ended up being an overnight in the back of my truck (probably wasn't legal). Weren't any marmot colonies around the parking lot then.  A fun memory is of driving down the dirt road to the falls overlook, coming around a corner to find a herd of cattle blocking the road.  My 60lb mutt was riding shotgun, and was so dumbstruck by the scene (he'd never seen a cow much less a herd), that he just stood there, quivering.  Wish there'd been video cameras in phones then.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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wadel
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PostMon Apr 15, 2019 10:35 am 
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That watering device is known as a wildlife guzzler.

You can hike from Lyons Ferry all the way to Palouse Falls but you'll most likely need a shuttle vehicle unless you really want to walk. During wet springs it can be slick and there are some steeper portions to navigate. There is a group that does organized hikes in the scablands and this is one of their hikes.
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RichP
here and there



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here and there
PostMon Apr 15, 2019 5:40 pm 
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wadel wrote:
That watering device is known as a wildlife guzzler.

You can hike from Lyons Ferry all the way to Palouse Falls but you'll most likely need a shuttle vehicle unless you really want to walk. During wet springs it can be slick and there are some steeper portions to navigate. There is a group that does organized hikes in the scablands and this is one of their hikes.

Thanks for that info. That would be a great hike.
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wadel
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PostTue Apr 16, 2019 5:19 am 
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This is the group that put together that hike:

https://iafi.org/

I don't see that they are doing it this year....
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bobbi
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PostTue Apr 16, 2019 7:46 pm 
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RichP wrote:
A delicate arch.
A delicate arch.

wow!  definitely green, but I love this delicate arch photo best up.gif

also, thanks for the lessons about the Palus

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  SoÖget on your way!" - Oh, the Places Youíll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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FiresideChats
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PostSun Apr 21, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Great pics of the raging falls.  up.gif  It's been too long since I've roamed that way.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Lyons Ferry and Palouse Falls April, 12, 2019
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