Things to Do in Southeast Washington
We have lived in Washington for 6 years and this year we made a goal to explore the great state of Washington more. We live in the southeast corner of Washington, so we started exploring there. There is so much to do in southeastern Washington, we have loved getting out of the house and into the great outdoors!
Some places have a fee for parking or a Discover Pass. I recommend getting the Discover Pass.
One of the hidden gems of southeastern Washington is the Twin Sisters. This area is gorgeous and has great views of the Columbia River. The Twin Sisters is located on highway 730, just south of Wallula on highway 12 in Washington. It is right by the Washington/Oregon border. We love this area, we have already gone to the area 4 times and never get sick of it.
The Twin Sisters are right off of the highway and just a little hike up you get incredible views of the rocks and the Columbia River.
There are several hills to climb and each one has an awesome view.
One of the best parts about the Twin Sisters is that you can walk right up to them, touch them and even walk in between them. The view from there is even better.
There is a lot more to see and explore there too, you can hike around the country and look around. The flowers are in bloom right now and it’s super pretty!
There is also a fun sand pit to play in, my kids loved that.
Just about a mile north of the Twin Sisters is another area called Wallula, it’s another great place to go and explore. The town of Wallula is on highway 12 and has a lot of history to it too, that’s on our list to go check out soon.
At the beginning of the hike there is a fork in the trail. You can turn left and go up and you end with this amazing view.
If you take a right at the fork, you go down a little bit and you can just go and go. You can see the trail in the other picture. There are lots of fun things to check out and it’s just a nice hike.
Hat Rock State Park is actually in Oregon, but it’s not very far from the Twin Sisters. It’s on highway 730 just outside of Umatilla Oregon. The park is famous because it was discovered be Lewis and Clark. There are several parks around the area and there is several trails and hikes.
We headed to the rock and then looked around. We then found a trail that led us down to the Columbia River. Over there had more hikes and trails but we didn’t end up exploring them because the kids had had enough, I’m sure a lot of you understand that.
Stonehenge War Memorial
The Stonehenge War Memorial is super cool and full of history. Sam Hill was a major land owner there and in the 1920s he wanted to build a memorial for the victims of World War 1 that were from the county. So he designed the memorial around the Stonehenge. it was completed in 1930 and still looks amazing today. I was super impressed with it and the history of it all. Such a cool place. It’s located on the Columbia River on highway 14 by Maryhill. It’s just a few miles away from the Briggs Junction bridge.
The Stonehenge is on a hill and so it has a beautiful view of the river and Mt. Hood.
Right by the memorial there are some rocks that are fun to climb on and enjoy the scenery.
Here is another view of the Stonehenge, it’s amazing that it is 90 years old!
Down the hill is the tombstone of Sam Hill.
Here is the little town of Maryhill. We drove through it but didn’t look around too much. There was a church that was built in 1888 that I would love to check out.
Teapot Dome Gas Station
This little gas station has a lot of history to it too. I was very intrigued about it because I grew up in Wyoming and learned about the Teapot Dome Scandal. The story goes that during the time of the scandal, there was a man who thought it would be funny to build a gas station in the shape of a teapot, that was in 1922. The gas station was working and running up until 2004 but then shut down. Since then they have made it a historical landmark. It’s a fun place to visit and check out. It’s located on I-82 in Zillah.
They turned the gas station into a little gift shop.
Southeastern Washington is a desert and the soil is very sandy, so there are a lot of sand dunes in the area. The biggest sand dunes in the area are the Juniper Dunes. If you have an ATV or motorbike, this is a great place to go, there are so many roads to go off roading on. We took our truck out there to go explore and see the area. It’s not ideal for playing in the sand for the kids but it’s super fun to drive on the sand in the truck.
We had a hard time finding the place, we went off of Google maps and that took us somewhere crazy. The website has directions but they are outdated, there now a paved road that takes you to the dunes. So instead of going on Peterson Dr., you follow the brown signs to a paved road. Once you get to the dead end, take a right and you will go about a mile until you get to the metal kiosk (where the map picture is taken).
They do have a wilderness area where no ATVs and OHV are allowed but it’s tricky to get out there, by the time we found the area it was getting late and time to get home. Definitely don’t attempt to go out there unless you have a 4×4 vehicle that isn’t low to the ground.
Columbia Plateau Stark Park Trail
We just discovered the Columbia Plateau Trail and it is awesome!! It is a trail that runs along the Snake River for 130 miles, which means there is a LOT TO EXPLORE!! I am sure we are going to go back and check out more. We headed out there and it did not disppoint. A lot of the trail is gravel, so you can take bikes on it or walk on it. It starts at the Ice Harbor Dam, but on the west side of the Snake River. You get to it but going on Pasco-Kahlotus rode and taking a right onto Ice Harbor Rd. Here is a picture to give you an idea of what it looks like right there.
They have a awesome map there, so we checked it out and saw there ther were tunnels and trestles up north, so we headed up there. You just continue on Pasco-Kahlotus road, there is a sign for each turn off on the road, so they are very easy to find.
We went to Burr Canyon, the Farrington trailhead. We were able to find tunnel #15 very easily, it was just off of the road. So we parked and ventured out and it was so great. The tunnel was awesome, and both sides of it had an awesome view. When you get to the other side, you can see the train bridge. There are several around the area. They were built in 1908 and were operational until 1987. They were so cool! Here is more info in these awesome trestles.
We walked up the hill and went on the trail that goes over the tunnel. Some of the trail is gravel and some of it looks like this- not as flat and taken care of. But it was still awesome! It was so cool to see the trail go through the rocks, you could just tell that it was an older road that they had to blast the rocks to make it.
On the other side of the tunnel, you get this cool view of the Snake River and the little bridge on the road. The stairs down to the road were made out of railroads ties, it was really cool. So much history in this area for sure.
We stopped by the Snake River Junction Trail head and checked it out. The trail looks amazing here, right by the river and not lot of people all over. I can’t wait to take our bikes out there and really go on the trail more.
On the side of the hill, there was an old structure that the kids looked at.
You can go down to the Snake River and play down there too.
There is beauty all around.
We have loved exploring the Columbia Plateau Trail. we have especially LOVED going to find all the tunnels. They are so fascinating and cool. We went and checked out Tunnel 16 in Devil’s Canyon. This is a 1/2 mile train tunnel that was built in 1917, it’s so cool! It’s located on the hill next to the Low Monument Dam. You can get to it 2 ways- continue on Kahlotus-Pasco highway and then turn at highway 283 and go through Devil’s Canyon (it’s about 5 miles before Kahlotus). You continue down that road for 5 miles and then about 150 yards before the turn off for the dam, there is a dirt road to right that goes up to the trail. You will want to park on a turnout to the left and cross the highway and walk up. It’s a pretty steep hill but definitely worth the walk up. If you are coming from Burr Canyon RD, you just continue down the road, about 4 miles past Windust Park. After you hit the dam, you will go about 150 yards and the turnout will be on the right and the hill on the left.
The tunnel is awesome and so cool to walk through. The whole thing is rocks, so make sure you wear nice, stable shoes. Having a flashlight would be a good idea too so you can see where you are walking, there are a lot of old railroad spikes and other parts on the ground. It is chillier in there, so if it’s a cooler day, you will want a jacket.
The tunnel looks awesome from both sides, you can see right through it. Train tunnels are so fascinating, just to think about how it was built and that is going through a mountain, so crazy!
The trail going for miles either side of the tunnel, if you continue after you go through the tunnel, it is about 6 miles through Devil’s Canyon, one way. If you go the other direction you walk towards the river and you can go on for miles that way.
Palouse Falls is amazing! We have gone multiple times and each time it doesn’t disappoint. There is something magical about this waterfall, it could be that you only have to walk a few steps to see it or that you can hike down to the river behind it and see and touch the river. It is such a wonderful waterfall. In the spring it is the fullest and the falls are just massive, it’s just so fun to watch all the water plummet to the river below.
The views all around are gorgeous, this canyon looks amazing with all the green grass around it. I would love to go down and explore down there, just have to figure out how to get down there…
Here is the Palouse river that you can hike down to. I love this area, the kids love to spend a lot of time right here. There is so much to look at, you can just watch the water move.
The water wasn’t as high as it can get, so we were about to find some bare rock in the river. It was awesome to just stand in the river.
We have loved these outings as a family. We usually just pick a day, pick a place and go explore. Most of them are close enough to the Tri-Cities that it takes only a few hours to do, it’s a great way to get out of the house and be active.