Armchair photo tours: Rainbow Falls State Park

A view of Rainbow Falls from the viewpoint in Rainbow Falls State Park west of Chehalis, Washington

Photos by Cheryl Landes

Rainbow Falls State Park is a popular place for camping, picnicking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, wildlife watching, birdwatching, and fishing. A short trail from the day-use parking lot ends at a viewpoint for a panorama of Rainbow Falls, a small cascade along the Chehalis River.

The trail to the Rainbow Falls viewpoint

The falls are named from the rainbows that form in the mist and water when the light shines on the rapids just right.

A close-up view of Rainbow Falls

The 129-acre park has 3,400 feet of shoreline along the Chehalis River and three miles of hiking trails, including a spur to the trail in Willapa Hills State Park. The Willapa Hills Trail follows an old railroad bed 22 miles to Pe El. The trail crosses forests, farmland, and small towns along the way.

The trail along the Chehalis River in Rainbow Falls State Park

Swimming is allowed at Rainbow Falls State Park, but no lifeguard is on duty.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built Rainbow Falls State Park in 1935. Many of the rustic structures from the Great Depression remain, such as the old ranger cabin, kitchen shelter, and comfort stations.

The old ranger cabin at Rainbow Falls State Park

The campground has 40 standard campsites, eight partial hookup sites, three hiker/biker sites, and two equestrian sites. Check-in is at 2:30 p.m. and check-out at 1 p.m. Make reservations online or call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688. Fees are listed at the Washington State Parks’ camping rates page.

Leaves changing colors at Rainbow Falls State Park

Rainbow Falls State Park is located at 633 Leudinghaus Road, 16 miles west of Chehalis, Washington. Daily hours are 8 a.m.-10 p.m. in the summer and 8 a.m. until dusk in the winter.

A Discover Pass is required for day use. Passes are $10 per day or $30 per year (buy online).

A trail through the Douglas fir, western red cedar, and hemlock trees at Rainbow Falls State Park

Learn more about Rainbow Falls State Park at parks.state.wa.us/570/Rainbow-Falls.

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