If eastern Washington calls to you, Lyons Ferry State Park is sure answer. Tree-shaded green lawns slope gracefully to the winding Snake and Palouse rivers. The hills of the Palouse, on a landscape carved by powerful Ice Age floods, lie beyond the water.
This day-use park is also brimming with history. It is home to Native people, including the Palouse Indian Tribe. The area was visited by the 34-member Corps of Discovery that included Lewis and Clark, on their westward journey in October 1805. In the 19th century, the park became the site of a ferry crossing that served the area for more than 100 years.
Lyons Ferry State Park
620 Marmes Road Washtucna, WA 99371 (509) 646-3229
State Parks information: (360) 902-8844
Reservations: Online at www.parks.state.wa.us or call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688
Lyons Ferry Amenities
The park has an ADA compliant restroom. There are two restrooms, one of which has hot showers. You’ll also have access to a boat ramp. People can swim, fish, bird watch, have a picnic and use personal watercraft.
A pumpout facility is available, but it is managed by the Port of Columbia – Lyons Ferry Marina. It is a public marina on the Snake River with an accessible Edson pumpout and dump station. This facility is open from February to December.
Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
There is a $7 boat ramp fee at Lyons Ferry State Park.
There is a $5 fee for using the pumpout which also has a dedicated slip available for pumpout usage.
For those who want to relax and enjoy, the wide spot on the rivers is a lure for picnickers, boaters, swimmers and water sports fans, as well as anglers casting out for the catch of the day.
Nearby Palouse Falls State Park offers spectacular views of Washington’s state waterfall. For more land-based activities in the area, bring bikes and ride the Columbia Plateau State Park Trail from Ice Harbor Dam to the Snake River Junction. Camping is available at Lewis and Clark Trail State Park 45 minutes away.
Things to do at Lyons Ferry State Park
There are no actual trails, but Lyons Ferry offers an abundance of space explore and absorb the information from interpretive signs. You can follow the shoreline for about a mile. The Palouse River meets the Snake River at Lyons Ferry State Park. If you are looking for a formal trail system Palouse Falls is just down the road and offers a more formal trail system.
Fishing at Lyons Ferry
Anglers can hook steelhead, sturgeon, trout, walleye, catfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass. Fishing regulations are highly specific and based on location and species. Please always consult the latest information available from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Video Tour of Lyons Ferry
When to Visit the Park
The park opens April 1 and closes September 30. The boat launch attracts many users but most are on the water, so wandering the park has never felt all that crowded. The summer typically brings out the most outdoor enthusiasts, but venturing out on a weekday helps to beat the crowds.
A Discover Pass is required to use the day use area. You can purchase a Discover Pass at Bi-Mart, Wal-Mart, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cascade Farm and Supply, and Dunning Irrigation. You can purchase when renewing your vehicle registration or at the Discover Pass website. How much does a Discovery Pass cost? The yearly fee is $30 and the day fee is $10.
You will need a valid Washington fishing license (if fishing). Fishing licenses are available online via the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife or local retail shops such as Bi-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cascade Farm and Outdoor, and Dunning Irrigation.
History of Lyons Ferry State Park
The park sits where the Snake and Palouse rivers meet. Lyons Ferry was the dividing point for the Ice Age floods after they carved the Palouse River canyons more than 13,000 years ago. From the confluence, the flood waters then went west into the Pasco Basin and east (upriver) to Lewiston, Idaho. Learn more about the exploration of Lewis and Clark in the video below.
The Lyons Ferry area was once the Palouse (Palus) Indian village. First written accounts of this village were documented by Lewis and Clark and the Corp of Discovery while passing through the area in October of 1805. Lyons Ferry was named for the ferry crossing that operated across the Snake River from 1860 until the late-1960s, when it was replaced by the existing bridge. In the fall of 1914, near present day Lyons Ferry State Park, the first Union Pacific Railroad locomotive crossed the Snake River on one of the largest bridges along the entire transcontinental route.
Lyons Ferry State Park is cooperatively managed by Washington State Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The park opened to the public in 1971, and was operated by Washington State Parks until 2002, when operation was returned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2015, operation of the park was transferred back to Washington State Parks.
Features of Lyons Ferry State Park
Lyons Ferry is a 168-acre day-use park with more than 52,000 feet of shoreline at the confluence of the Snake and Palouse rivers. Lyons Ferry was named after the Lyons family, who for many years operated the ferry across the Snake River. The ferry service ran from 1860 to 1968, when it was replaced by a bridge.
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.