The Palouse is a rich farming area of wheat and legumes, encompassing approximately 3,000 square miles in Washington and Idaho. Its rolling hills are bound to the east and north by the forests of north Idaho, to the south by the Snake River, and by the flat terrain and shallow soils to the west in Washington state. The hills were formed over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust and silt called loess. Often described as the Tuscany of America, it is a popular area for photography and those who enjoy a more rural pace of life combined with the energy of 2 land-grant state universities.
There are 3 popular spots on the Palouse for amazing views.
Kamiak Butte, 11 miles north of Pullman. Kamiak Butte rises 3,641 feet and offers 298 acres for hiking, picnicking, camping, and sightseeing. The area boasts over 130 species of birds, 170 species of plants, and nearly 30 species of mammals for wildlife viewing. It is a favorite spot for photography, as a hike to the crest offers spectacular panoramic views of the rolling hills of the Palouse with the patchwork of fields and farmlands changing with the seasons.
Steptoe Butte, approximately 30 miles north of Pullman. Steptoe Butte rises 3,618 feet into the sky and offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the Palouse. You can drive or hike the 3.1 miles to the top of the butte. Activities include bird watching, hang-gliding, paragliding, remote/control flying machines, hiking, photography, sightseeing, and picnicking.
Moscow Mountain, 12 miles north of downtown Moscow. Moscow Mountain reaches almost 5,000 feet. It is known for its epic mountain biking trails and is also a great place for hiking and trail running. It offers a bit more of a challenge, as there is no signage. To find your way around, it is advised to purchase the trail guide “Mountain Biking Hog Heaven” or visit the Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association’s website.