High streamflow Palouse River.
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State map.
For more information and directions to the park, visit the offical: Palouse Falls State Park site.

Palouse Falls State Park sign

January 2009

Palouse Falls in Winter - Part II

What a difference 18 days can make! Images and video posted in Part I of the January Feature of the Month page were taken on 23 December 2008. Images and video on this page were captured on 10 January 2009.

This Ice Age Floods feature is one of the most beautiful winter destinations in the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington.

January streamflow, Palouse Falls.
Though just a tiny trickle compared to the Ice Age Floods - The January 2009 flow over Palouse Falls was impressive.

Palouse Falls Jetboat

Palouse River Jetboat Kelly Underwood.
Kelly Underwood's jetboat in Palouse Falls plunge pool.
Photo courtesy Kelly Underwood (Dayton, WA)

Video below shows views of Palouse Falls along with scenes of Kelly Underwood's jetboat below the falls.

The extreme Palouse River flows in early January were due to a record December snowpack in eastern Washington followed by warm temperatures.

Palouse Falls Video January 2009

Click arrow to view video (w/sound) of Palouse Falls shot on 10 January 2009. Video includes scenes of a jetboat that navigated the lower Palouse River Canyon. Palouse Falls was created by the Ice Age Floods. Geologists believe that Glacial Lake Missoula was the source for most of the water during the flood events.

Palouse River flows over spectacualar Palouse Falls.
Palouse Falls is one of the many awesome features created by the Ice Age Floods.

Melting Snow Fuels Palouse River

Two days of warm temperatures in early January led to the rapid melting of eastern Washington's snowpack. A cold front then moved through the area and slowed the melt off. Only minor flooding of the Palouse River was reported by the National Weather Service.

On 9 January 2009, flows recorded at the Hooper, Washington USGS site exceeded 9,000 cfs. The images and video on this page were recorded when flows had lowered to less than 6,000 cfs. The last time Palouse River streamflows were recorded in excess of 9,000 cfs was December 1998 when the flow reached 15,900 cfs. USGS records for Palouse River flows date back to 1898.

Though nothing when stacked up against Ice Age Flood streamflow estimates, a visit to the falls on 4 February 1963 would have been impressive as river flows topped 33,500 cfs!

Palouse River streamflow data recorded at USGS site in Hooper, Washington.
Red diamond marks approximate time images and video on this page were recorded. The USGS Palouse River site at Hooper is 15 miles above Palouse Falls.

Click to open USGS map that includes the Palouse River Basin: USGS map

Return to Palouse Falls in Winter Part I

Inquire about road conditions prior to visiting the falls in winter months and use caution when walking near the canyon rim.

Click to view trip report (w/photos) from an Ice Age Floods Institute hike in the Palouse River Canyon.

For more photos and information about the frozen falls, visit:

Ice Age Blog - Palouse Falls in Winter

View the December 2008 Feature of the Month: Billy Clapp Lake - Spring Coulee

All photos by Tom Foster unless otherwise noted.

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