Tumwater Falls Park, Tumwater

4.7
Tumwater Falls are a series of cascades on the Deschutes River in Tumwater, Washington, United States, near where the river empties into Budd Inlet, a southerly arm of Puget Sound in Olympia.GeologyThe Deschutes River carved a course through glacial debris left after the Pleistocene ice age until it reached volcanic bedrock, forming the falls as it coursed down to Puget Sound.HistoryTumwater Falls was the site of New Market, the first European settlement in Western Washington. It was also the site of the now-defunct Olympia Brewing Company.Olympia Light and Power Company constructed a dam and a hydroelectric power plant at the falls in 1890, a decade before the Snoqualmie Falls powerplant outside Seattle. The plant powered an Olympia–Tumwater streetcar, among other things. A dam at above sea level created a head for the powerhouse and still stands on the Deschutes River.The Tumwater Falls created an impassable barrier to salmon until 1952, when a fish ladder was built by the Washington Department of Fisheries (now the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife), to provide salmon access to the newly constructed fish hatchery located immediately above the falls. Prior to the 1952 hatchery operations, the Deschutes river above the Tumwater Falls was a river system free of the influence of migrating and spawning salmon, an unusual ecological occurrence in the riparian systems of Puget Sound.
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Tumwater Falls Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
194 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The falls are wonderful year round, but when it is rainy season the power and mist are awesome. Nicely maintained trail, free and easy parking and I like the rock work on the retaining walls and seein...  more »
  • Great outdoor spot for anyone and everyone. Clean, fresh, fun and even a revitalizing place to enjoy a well deserved family and friends outing. This is a place that all individuals of ages, including ...  more »
  • Went walking before dinner at the Falls Terrace. So peaceful. We walked the whole set of paths and it was 25 years since I was there the last time.  more »
Google
  • What a find! Great little spot to walk or run. Has its own beauty at different times of year as water levels and foliage change with the seasons. Kids and I loved both the thundering and sprinkling falls over winter. One feels miles away hidden within all the trees and there’s a cute little playground at the top within Falls Park and new much larger one at the very bottom within Historical Park. You can take a short loop or tack on a visit to the historic park further along. We love this gem.
  • What a surprise to find! Enjoy the falls and take the quick hike along it to see several smaller falls, gushing water, misty spray, fish gates, and more. Takes hardly any time and really is fun to see. Good for a quick exercise walk or just to take in the sites.
  • I love Tumwater Falls Park. It's a nice free outing for the family. It is a wonderful walk around the falls. The kids run and play. Dogs can go for a walk as well. In the fall you can watch the salmon run there and in the spring you can see over 200000 baby salmon before they are let go. Their is a play area for kids and a nice grassy area to throw a frisbee or whatever. There are a few picnic tables as well.
  • Beautiful, hidden gem of a place. It's about a 30 min circular stroll from the high falls to the lower falls which are wonderful. There is a lovely country looking restaurant overlooking the falls too which is nice. Definitely worth a visit.
  • I love this park. A nice, short, pretty easy path with lots of baby waterfalls along the way. The water is so high right now, it's just incredible to see!
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