She became the poet laureate of Washington State in 1931. In addition to her poetry, she also published novels and short story collections, including The Flower that Grew in the Sand (1896), The Forest Orchid and Other Stories (1897), Mariella-of-Out-West (1902), Alaska the Great Country, and From the Land of Snow Pearls. In 1902 she published a poetry collection, When the Birds Go North Again, which the New York Times praised for its "depth and delicacy of feelings".
She published the poetry collection The Vanishing Race and Other Poems in 1911.
Her best known work is the poem "Four Leaf Clover", which was first published by West Shore Magazine in 1890. Higginson also helped establish the first public reading room and library in Bellingham, Washington, and for a long time was a board member there.
The Ella Higginson Papers are open to the public and are held at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University.
She was also the campaign manager for Frances C. Axtell, elected as the first female member of Washington State"s House of Representatives in 1912.