Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Alert symbolATTENTION

Construction of a new trailhead in Malden, as well as trail surface improvements, are slated to begin September 6, 2022. As a result, there will be a full closure of the trail anticipated to last 5-6 months. The project closure extends from Gashaus Road in Rosalia to the new trailhead location in Malden.

There is no agency-sponsored or promoted bypass; during the closure, expect an out and back experience on either side of the closure.


From the densely forested Cascades to the scablands carved by the Ice Age floods, Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail gives hikers, cyclists and, in some places, equestrians, a taste of Washington’s diversity. This linear park runs from west of North Bend to the Columbia River near Vantage – and continues from the town of Lind to the Idaho border.

Heading east on this historic rail trail (part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad from 1909 to 1980), travelers pass lush, vast Olallie State Park, with its waterfalls and seasonal colors. Explorers continue through the mountain pass into dark tunnels and over high trestles, until the landscape gives way to the amber-hued farmlands of eastern Washington. Railroad buffs, don’t miss the historic train depots at South Cle Elum and Kittitas along the way.

You can take this trail in one-day sections or as a long-distance hiking or biking trip through diverse environments. Trailheads and access points are located every few miles along the trail. Camping can be found at Lake Easton State Park, just off the trail near Easton, and Wanapum Recreation Area, a few miles south of Vantage. Primitive campsites are available west of Thorp along the trail. 

Park features 

The 5,794-acre, 250-mile Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail reflects State Parks’ long-term commitment to developing cross-state trails. It is part of an emerging multi-state trail system. The Milwaukee Road Railroad right-of-way, which includes the Palouse to Cascades Trail, travels east into Idaho. 

Improvements have been made to the portion west of the Columbia River, and plans are in place to improve the 9-mile segment from Malden to Rosalia on the eastern portion. The center section, between Royal City Junction and Warden has intact rail; it is not used as part of the recreational trail at this time.  

From Renslow to the Columbia River: The trail runs through the Yakima Training Center, managed by the U.S Army. Trail users are required to self-register at one of the two trailheads at Renslow (west) or Doris (east). 

Registration form - between Beverly and the Idaho border: Washington State Parks now manages the entire trail from Beverly to the Idaho border. Users must pre-register to use this section of the trail. Registration can be completed up to a year in duration. Individual trail users and groups of 19 and less may view trail etiquette and complete and submit the registration online. Groups of 20 or more should call the park office at (509) 337-6457.

Register to visit the Palouse to Cascades Trail Link Opens in new window

Plan ahead Long distance through-hikes or cycling trips require planning and extra gear and provisions, particularly water. Some detours are needed around rail lines, missing bridges and private property. Be sure to check conditions before you go. The state-managed corridor is typically 50 feet on either side of the center of the trail, but this varies. Please respect private property along the trail.

Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

Automated pay station: An automated pay station is located at the Hyak trailhead for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass (April 1- Nov. 30) and Sno-Park permit (Dec. 1-March 31). Donations are accepted a this station year-round.

  1. Activities
  2. Camping
  3. History
  4. Maps

ADA amenities/facilities

  • Restroom
  • Hiking trail

Use our interactive ADA recreation map to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities.



  • 250 miles of biking trails
  • 250 miles of hiking trails
  • 250 miles of horse trails

Water activities & features

  • Freshwater fishing

Winter activities & features

  • Cross-country skiing
  • Dog sledding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing

Other activities & features

  • Bird watching
  • Mountain biking
  • Bike repair station
  • Rock climbing
  • Wildlife viewing

Interpretive opportunities

Kiosks and panels are installed at Hyak, Easton, South Cle Elum, Thorp and Kittitas with a map of the trail and interpretive information.

 Additional information

  • The trail meanders through a variety of ecosystems and geological zones.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail except for snowmobiles in winter, which are allowed from Stampede Pass Road to Cabin Creek.
  • Horse-drawn wagon users must obtain a gate combination access agreement from Lake Easton State Park.
  • Winter sport opportunities are available. Sno-Parks require a seasonal or day permit from Dec. 1 - March 31. Hyak, Crystal Springs and Lake Easton sno-parks also require a groomed trail sticker with the seasonal Sno-Park Permit. A sticker is not required with a daily Sno-Park Permit. For more information, call (509) 656-2230.
  • A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Printable park brochure (PDF).