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Snoqualmie Falls – Impressive Waterfall Less than 30 Miles from Seattle!

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Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls – Impressive Waterfall less than 30 miles from Seattle! 

Whether you are just visiting the Pacific Northwest or if you have lived here all your life, I think a visit to Snoqualmie Falls is a must-do to put on your list! It is such an impressive sight to see & what I love is that it’s so easy to visit & anyone can visit as it is accessible for anyone, regardless of mobility. Both young & old & every age in between will be wowed by these dramatic waterfalls. And the beautiful rustic northwest themed Salish Lodge is so stunning against the cliffs above the waterfall, it just makes the best pictures.

If you are visiting the Seattle area, Snoqualmie Falls gives you a real sense of the true Pacific Northwest vibes with the waterfalls, beautiful blue-green river & forest full of trees to enjoy as you walk down to the bottom of the falls. It’s less than an hour out of the city, too, so if you wanted to just rent a car for the day, this would be the best destination to visit to see the beauty that the PNW is known for.

For those of you who live in the PNW, you may not realize how fast & easy it is to get to Snoqualmie Falls. It makes a good stopping point on your next road trip if you are headed over the mountains on I90 as it’s just 10 minutes from the freeway in Snoqualmie/North Bend area right before you get ready to drive over Snoqualmie Pass. Take the exit to the Falls & make a quick trip to get out & stretch your legs & see these beautiful falls.

Snoqualmie Falls

Upper falls viewing platform

Location:  Snoqualmie, WA
Miles: 1.4 miles (if you hike down to the lower falls viewpoint)
Elevation Gain: 250 ft (if you hike to the lower falls viewpoint)
Pass Needed: None needed
Parking:  Free parking across the street, use pedestrian bridge (parking is $7 on the same side as falls)
Restrooms: Yes
Pet Friendly: Yes (Dogs allowed on leash at all times)
Cost: Free to visit the falls

Snoqualmie Falls is a great place to visit with anyone of any age & ability. If you are just looking for the views, you can easily access the Upper Falls viewing platform. There are several places to park – there is a close parking lot for the Upper Falls but it does cost $7 to park there. If you park across the street & use the pedestrian bridge, the parking will be free. Just walk across the pedestrian bridge & it will take you right to the Upper Falls viewing platforms.

Upper Falls Viewing Areas

There are 2 main areas to view the falls from the upper falls viewing areas & the first area is wheelchair accessible (the second is down some stairs, but they are wider, longer stairs with railings. There are railings all along the upper falls viewing area. Just be prepared to get a little wet as there is a strong mist from the falls as they are so powerful that the mist rises to the viewing area. But that is what makes it so cool to see, too, it gives it a bit of an otherworldly effect when you take pictures.

You will also have the gorgeous Salish Lodge in the distance on the cliffs, which makes for the coolest pictures, too, from the upper falls. Just be prepared as this viewpoint is definitely going to be busy. We went on a rainy March weekend afternoon & it was still a fair number of people visiting, so beautiful days & summer weekend days are definitely going to have crowds. The best times to visit are earlier morning or later in the evening before sunset & on weekdays.

If you want to get a different perspective & get a little hike in & avoid some of the crowds, take a walk down to the lower falls viewpoint. Access to the trail is well marked from the upper falls 2nd viewpoint – just head behind the gift shop & visitor’s center, look for the kiosk with a map & the trail will start across the path.

Trail at Snoqualmie Falls

This is a .7 mile trail  down to the lower falls that goes downhill on the way down & then back up (1.4 miles total) with a wide, gravel path which is good if there are other groups hiking. It is steep on the way back (250 ft elevation gain in .4 mi) but still very doable for families – it’s short so you can push thru. If you prefer not to hike down or back up, there is also a parking area for the lower falls viewpoint, too.

Snoqualmie Falls Boardwalk at Lower Falls Viewpoint

But I think the little hike is worth it to get out a bit more in nature & enjoy the forest views going down & back up.  {In the fall, there are some bright splashes of color, with some of the deciduous trees, so this is a great place to see some fall foliage}

Snoqualmie Falls from Lower Falls Viewing Platform

When you get down to the lower falls, this is such a cool area as it has a large boardwalk area to walk on next to the roaring river to get to the lower falls viewpoint. This is the final .3 miles of the hike along the boardwalk to the observation area & it’s my favorite area listening to the river & seeing it up close.

Snoqualmie Falls Boardwalk at Lower Falls Viewpoint

You’ll also see the hydroelectric plant up close, which is a great way to explain to your kids all about how the power of the water is harnessed into making energy for our homes & businesses.

There is a small gift shop / visitor’s center if you’d like to learn more & take home any souvenirs – make sure to check the hours for when you visit. During the off-season, it is just open on weekends, but it will be open more during the popular summer months.

Where to Visit Nearby:

Twin Falls Waterfall Hike

Waterfall Hikes:

If you love Snoqualmie Falls & want to try more waterfall hikes that are a bit longer, we have several great options that are not far at all from Snoqualmie Falls:

    • Twin Falls – this is the closest waterfall hike to Snoqualmie Falls – only about 20 minutes away on the other side of I 90
    • Franklin Falls (about 40 minutes up I 90 towards Snoqualmie Pass)
    • Cherry Creek Falls (this is about 50 minutes away from Snoqualmie Falls to the north, but it’s a beautiful drive in the Snoqualmie Valley & thru the small towns of Carnation, Fall City & Duvall)

Remlinger Farms – The very popular U-pick & family fun farm, Remlinger Farms, is located in Carnation, WA & is just 15 minutes away from Snoqualmie Falls. They offer u-pick strawberries, raspberries & pumpkins, but are open during the summer & fall for all sorts of family fun activities around the farm.

Rattlesnake Lake & Rattlesnake Ledge – The very popular Rattlesnake Ledge hike & Rattlesnake Lake is just 20 minutes away from Snoqualmie Falls. Rattlesnake Ledge is a 4 mile hike with 1160 elevation gain, but has some beautiful views of the lake & the valley beyond. If you’re not up for the hike, a visit to Rattlesnake Lake is also very popular too especially as a great place to cool off in the summer.

Northwest Railway Museum – Explore the Snoqualmie Valley by train on the Snoqualmie Valley railroad. You can book tickets online for Saturdays in March & Saturday & Sundays from April – December. There is also a railway museum in Snoqualmie to visit, too, for those of you who have train lovers in your family to learn more about the history.

Restaurants Near Snoqualmie Falls:

Salish Lodge – if you are visiting Snoqualmie Falls and you want a special splurge meal, head to the Salish Lodge for a delicious meal & gorgeous views of the falls as they are situated right above the falls.  They provide Pacific northwest fare with farm-to-table options & is definitely considered a romantic dining spot if you are celebrating an anniversary, birthday or more.

North Bend Bar & Grill -we love heading to the North Bend Bar & Grill after hiking or a visit to Snoqualmie Falls as it’s a casual restaurant with great food with local, fresh ingredients. They have burgers & sandwiches, as well as entrees & a wide selection of appetizers too as well as some brunch options too.

Twede’s Cafe – if you loved the Northern Exposure tv show, then you’ll want to head to Twede’s Cafe, a classic diner filmed in the show, right in the middle of North Bend. My girls love that breakfast is served all day,  along with sandwiches, burgers & more.

Volition Brewing – this is a brewery that is both family & dog friendly with outdoor, heated seating & they have rotating food trucks that come thru, so make sure to check out their calendar for the different food trucks that will be available when you are there.

Do you have any favorite restaurants or things to do near Snoqualmie Falls you’d add to our list?

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