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.
The 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.
Tumwater 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
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
258 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This park is on the grounds of the old Olympia Brewing Co. which has the Tumwater River flowing thru it . There are two falls within a quarter mile of each other. Easy walk from one end to the other. ...  more »
  • This is an extremely tranquil and relaxing place to visit. Although there is some construction on one side of the falls, they still are beautiful to watch and hear. There are walking paths and bridges...  more »
  • We had lunch at the restaurant and did the walk. Saw one fish jump just below the falls and loved the running water up and down the walk. It’s an easy, pleasant walk and great for out of town visitors...  more »
Google
  • I love this little gem in the middle of the bustling area of Olympia and Tumwater. When you walk the whole trail, you are almost teleported to a different world that feels so secluded from the hustle and bustle of the world around you. There are some pretty interesting plaques that explain the history of the falls from the late 1800's with the old Mill that was there, the power station, the original capital brewery, through the Olympia brewery, which closed in the early 2010's. There is a cool fish ladder where you can even watch the salmon spawn if you're lucky to be there during the spawning season. Very cool!
  • The upper loop is a lovely walk. Leashed dogs are allowed and its kid safe, but still keep an eye on them. There is also a great new park down below. Its a little bit of a walk so I suggest driving. Overall its a perfect oasis in the middle of Tumwater and is enjoyable in any season.
  • Tumwater falls park is a great place to get a nice walk. There are often interesting things going on there even if it's just the fellow visitors. Last time we went there was a guy walking his tortoise! There's also a fish hatchery here that the kids enjoy looking at. The waterfall itself is always a joy to see, and learning the history of the area via the plaques at the park is fascinating. The park gets knocked down a star for the playground being pretty lame. It's just a sandy area with two cat concrete boats. That's it. In my experience kids find it fun for a few minutes the first couple times, but after that they lose interest. Tumwater Falls Park is great for walking or jogging. Biking doesn't seem advisable to me, and it's really lacking a good playground for the kids.
  • Great little park. Basic playground by the parking lot. A good amount of parking available. Has a nice restaurant over looking the falls. You forget you are in the city at times walking around feeling the cool most from the falls on you. Great place to take photos.
  • Tumwater Falls still has significant construction going on but the trails are open. The Falls is definitely worth a stop even though the water level is low. The salmon are starting to spawn and are quite visible from the first bridge. It is a relatively easy hike with well manicured trails and stairs. Photo ops abound.
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31 days in Kent BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular sights PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, teens, kids, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 30 days in Olympia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 15 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 37 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 19 days in Greater Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, extra fast, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Extra fast 21 days in Seattle & Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park BY A USER FROM THAILAND December, teens, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, teens, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 22 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM THAILAND December, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 16 days in Washington State & New York City BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 35 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: November, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 7 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: November, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium
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