Peewee Falls by Boundary Dam Campground in Washington state is one of the best hidden gems of Eastern Washington. I’ve lived in Eastern Washington most of my life and just discovered Peewee Falls for myself in the last few years. I know when people think of best Eastern Washington waterfalls, they typically think of Palouse Falls. I agree, it’s spectacular. But theres’s nothing like paddling to it and being able to swim and paddle around the energy of a massive waterfall.
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Peewee Falls is incredibly close to the Canadian border in Northeastern Washington, and the nearest towns are Metaline and Metaline Falls. The largest major city is Spokane, Washington which is about 2 hours and 15 minutes south.
Getting to Peewee Falls
To get to Peewee Falls, put in “Boundary Dam Campground” into Google Maps NOT Boundary Dam – which will lead you to the wrong/east side of the river. However if you do find yourself on the east side of the river, you can visit the Vista House for a view of the dam and river. You cannot drive to Peewee Falls, you have to go by water. If you’re coming from Spokane, you’ll head north to Newport on Highway 2, turn left heading north on Highway 211 which merges and turns into Highway 20, continue along with the Pend Oreille River on your right through tiny towns like UsK, Cusick, Ione, and finally Metaline.
Just past Metaline, you’ll take a hairpin left turn on Boundary Road and continue about 20 minutes until arriving at Boundary Dam Campground. If you don’t take the hairpin left, you’ll cross the river into the tiny town of Metaline Falls.
Finally, you’ll arrive at the entrance to the campground on your right. If you were to go straight, you’d cross the dam and the river, which I don’t think you are allowed to drive past this point.
Boundary Dam Campground
The technical name for the campground and boat launch are Seattle City Light’s Forebay Recreation Area. There are 22 camp sites, including 6 walk in tent sites, 3 car camp sites, and 12 RV sites. All sites are FREE and first come first serve, no reservations available. Flushing toilets and running water are available and sites have fire rings and picnic tables. You can stay up to 6 consecutive nights from spring through fall.
The day use area also has BBQs, picnic tables, and 14 parking spots. There is a very nice boat launch with a dock and 13 parking spots for vehicles with boat trailers. On weekends, spots fill up quickly, but midweek you should have no problem finding a spot. You don’t even need a Discover Pass or to pay for parking. Crazy, right?
Getting to Peewee Falls From the Campground
So once you get to Boundary Dam Campground, where is the falls, you ask? Launch your watercraft (motorized or non-motorized) and head south down the Pend Oreille River away from the boat launch. We always use paddle boards and it takes us about 15 minutes to get to the falls. On the right side, the river will branch off into what is called “Z Canyon” and you’ll follow that. In minutes Peewee Falls will emerge in view and it’s absolutely stunning.
The shore is rather rocky and a little steep so there’s not much room to walk around and sitting for lunch is not the most comfortable, which is why we usually stay on our boards near the shore. You can paddle quite close to the falls and feel how incredibly powerful it is. However, I wouldn’t paddle directly underneath it as I’ve heard a story of someone getting injured from falling debris years ago. Here you can see the scale of how huge the waterfall is!
We typically bring our camera, a dry bag to put sunscreen, light clothing to avoid sunburn, snacks, and a water bottle and just strap it to our paddle board. I always bring flip flops or water sandals and strap them to my board too in case I want to walk around on the rocks. It works like a charm. I keep my phone in a waterproof phone case and just strap it to my board.
Things to do Around Peewee Falls
These underground caves are only about 5-10 minutes from Boundary Dam Campground. Instead of turning right into the campground, you’d go left on Boundary Road to Crawford State Park. Here, the day use park does require a Discovery Pass. The 500 million year old cave goes down almost 300 feet and over 2000 feet long. If stalagmites and stalactites are your jam, then Gardner Cave is worth a visit. It can only be visited by tour, which takes about an hour with limited slots Thursday though Monday at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM during May through September. Remember, caves are cold, so bring layers.
Check HERE for more information and to book tickets.
Sweet Creek Rest Area and Sweet Creek Falls
This beautiful natural area is just before the town of Metaline. You can stretch your legs and take a short 1 mile walk to the upper and lower waterfalls. Also a great place to have your lunch at the picnic tables.
You can extend your trip by making a side trip from Ione or Metaline Falls to Sullivan Lake. It’s quite a large and pretty lake of 1290 acres and 312 feet deep. You can fish, hike, camp, and use non-motorized watercraft. There are 3 campgrounds on the lake where sites can be reserved for $24 per night at Recreation.gov.
Rail Rider Excursions
From 1981 to 2016, you could ride a breathtaking scenic train ride along the Pend Oreille River from Ione through the mountains across bridges with sheer drops to Metaline Falls. I remember it fondly from when I was a kid. The train route has been retired, but they’ve since replaced it with a very unique tourist experience: a four seat, pedal-powered bike on train tracks! The 9 mile roundtrip adventure runs June through October and costs $24 dollars. You can contact them ahead to make sure they are open and have available slots HERE.
Where to Stay Near Peewee Falls
Honestly, there are not a ton of options. That’s why I think Boundary Dam Campground is your best bet. There is the Ruby Creek Lodge along the river about 45 minutes away that looks really cute and has great reviews. The only Airbnbs in the area are campsites and one cabin near Tiger. I think you could easily visit Peewee Falls as a day trip from Spokane but if you want to add in the rail riding and the cave, you might as well make it a two day affair. There are a few RV parks and small motels listed on Trip Advisor in Metaline and Metaline Falls… but yikes. Or you can stay in an Airbnb in Chewelah which is about a 1.5 hours from the campground where you put in your paddle board.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed description of Peewee Falls at Boundary Dam, which I just happen to think is the best waterfall in Eastern Washington. I hope you visit and agree! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, if you visit and what your experience was like, and if you have any other suggestions!