5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

by Culinary Spelunker / Sep 23, 2019 /
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Crushing over almost 270 feet to the ground below, Snoqualmie Falls, just east of Seattle, has become a draw for locals – and visitors from around the world. Next to the towering Mount Rainier (about 70 miles directly south), Snoqualmie Falls often tops the list of most popular natural sites in the state.

5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

The Snoqualmie Tribe considers the area around the falls, and the falls themselves, sacred. According to one of the many legends associated with the falls, they’re the place of creation, and the water’s mist bears prayers from the earth to the heavens. 

You can learn more about these legends and the ecology of the area when visiting the falls. Throughout the two-acre park and various viewing areas, there are signs that literally walk you through its history.

Here are a few other unexpected surprises that you’ll find when you go to the falls.

The stairs speak to you

Tell your kids to pay attention to the messages in the stairs and the trail areas. Within the concrete, there are words in the cement that echo what they might be seeing and experiencing during your visit. Have them keep their eyes out for messages about the falls like “tumbling,” “rumbling,” “crashing” and “gushing,” and “rushing.” When the sunlight hits the words, they seem to pulse in the concrete, just waiting for visitors to notice.

Words in the stairs! From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

The trail signs are like a living textbook

Not sure what kind of vegetation you’re seeing? Wondering what types of trees are in the area? The signs along the trail almost anticipate visitors’ questions. There are informational signs right next to the vegetation and trees to tell you exactly what you’re seeing. No need to Google, just look around and you’re likely to find the answer to any question you (or more realistically, your kids) may have.

trail signs. From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

Trail signs. From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

The trails will give you a workout

We parked at the main Snoqualmie Falls viewing area and then took the trail down to the lower trailhead. I’d been distracted by the sites of the falls and the trees as we made our way down. I hadn’t noticed how the trail had become steeper in sections.

The sign at the bottom of the trail noted that the ascent was akin to climbing through a 30-story building.

Yeah, I wished I’d seen that at the top of the trail. Note: You can park at the lower trails and explore that area before driving to the falls if you’re not up to the more strenuous sections of the trail. It’s completely up to you.

WHAT a trail! From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

trail signage. From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

The falls make for a great picnic spot

We noticed several families who’d brought a picnic with them to eat at the falls – quite a view to see while eating your meal! You could pack your own, or stop by Small Fryes, a local dive in Fall City that you can stop by on your way to the trail. I’d suggest calling in your order beforehand, as the wait can be long during busy times at this hole-in-the-wall. Their motto? “We specialize in GREASE, SALT, SUGAR AND CAFFEINE!” I’d highly recommend getting one of their shakes and a big pile of fries. You can get one of their greasy burgers as well, but you should definitely try dipping fries into the shake. I powered through my fries so quickly, I didn’t even remember take a picture (next time, I definitely need to get the onion rings, too!).  

Small Fryes! From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls featured prominently in a TV cult classic

In the opening sequences of the 1990s TV show Twin Peaks, the camera pans over the falls. Establishing shots of Snoqualmie Falls and the surrounding towns like Snoqualmie, North Bend, and Fall City make up the show’s opener and acted as the setting for the fictional town of Twin Peaks. 

For a complete trail map and other tips to make the most of your visit, check out All Trails.

Trail marker. From 5 Surprising Reasons to Visit Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls

 

 

Kristen J. Gough, a Culinary Spelunker, is the Global Cuisines and Kids Editor for Wandering Educators

All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough

 

 

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