Snoqualmie Falls Combining Power & Beauty in Washington State
A short drive from Seattle, Washington takes one into the lush and verdant countryside where Snoqualmie Falls thunders over a high cliff splashing into a pool of water and then proceeding onto the rocky riverbed providing not only stunning beauty but the power to furnish thousands of homes with electricity.
My mother, niece and I had already spent some time exploring Seattle's Pike Place Market and other notable sites within the city and had taken a day trip into the country to see the charming Bavarian village of Leavenworth.
Now we were on our way to tour the San Juan Islands and then Vancouver, Canada.
Since Snoqualmie Falls was heavily advertised as a wondrous site of natural beauty, we thought that we would stop to see if the Falls lived up to its hype.
In the town of Snoqualmie we happened to spot a building that sparked our interest and decided to check it out. Originally built in 1890 this charming railroad depot of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway still graces the small town of Snoqualmie today.
Restoration has kept much of it intact with some modern mandated updates and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Depot is situated in a small park-like setting within the town of Snoqualmie. One can check out the displays relating to history of railroads and it is open most days of the year to the public free of charge.
History of This Area
Native Indians knew of this site long before being discovered by the settlers moving west. In fact, there are Indian stories which survive to this day regarding the Snoqualmie Falls and what it means to the native tribes who first called this place home.
The white settler who first recorded visiting the Falls in 1849 was a man by the name of Samuel Hancock.
A couple of U.S. army personnel first measured the Falls in 1853.
When passenger trains started transporting people from Seattle to this glorious site starting in 1889, legends of its beauty drew more and more people and it became a growing tourist attraction.
Well over a million people annually now visit the Snoqualmie Falls.
Height of this spectacular waterfall in western Washington is about 110 feet taller than the well known Niagra Falls which borders New York State and Canada.
It was a bright and sunny day when it was our turn to become one of those many annual visitors to Snoqualmie Falls and yet it did not seem overly crowded.
From the parking lot it is an easy walk and handicap accessible to be able to view the cataract of water rushing over its precipice and falling the 268 feet to the pool below.
According to literature that I picked up, in the late 1800s dare devil tightrope walkers traversed the river over the Falls entertaining an audience below. Crazy! Of course that is solely my opinion. Obviously dangerous, that kind of risky behavior has not been allowed for a long time.
Trail Down to the Falls
My niece and I decided to take the trail to get down to Snoqualmie River and be able to view the Falls looking back up at it from that perspective. My mother decided to stay up at the top and await our return.
It is about one-half mile down to the river but it is a steep hike one which changes elevation by around 300 feet.
The trail brought us in close proximity to the moss covered trees and other vegetation that clung to the walls of the cliff as we worked our way down to the roaring Falls and river. It was beautiful to view.
Our reward for the hike can be seen via the following photos.
Snoqualmie Falls Power Plant
Upon reaching the bottom we got to see an old but still operating hydroelectric power plant that was built in 1898. I'll let the photos that I took speak for themselves.
After my niece and I climbed back up the steep trail and rejoined my patient mother we decided to take a look at the historic Salish Lodge that is situated on a bluff overlooking the Snoqualmie Falls.
First built in 1916 it has been rebuilt utilizing the original stone fireplace. It has become a luxury lodging only 30 miles east of Seattle and also offers spa services and fine dining.
It was lunch time so we decided to dine there. I ordered their "catch of the day" which consisted of a delicious seafood fettuccine. My mother and niece were also well satisfied with their selections.
A son and daughter-in-law of good friends of ours had their wedding reception at the beautiful Salish Lodge some years later after our visit. It would be a great northwest wedding and even honeymoon location!
Stopping and exploring Snoqualmie Falls and the lovely Salish Lodge in Washington State just east of Seattle made for a nice interlude on our 15 day vacation many years ago. The power and beauty of those tall cascading Falls will be permanently marked in our memories.
Have you been to Snoqualmie Falls and the Salish Lodge?
Map where Snoqualmie is located in the State of Washington
© 2010 Peggy Woods