Fans of Twin Peaks will recognize Washington state’s iconic Snoqualmie Falls, an epic cataract that drops 270 feet (82 meters) in one single, massive rush. Travelers can hike down to the base of the falls, take in the views from the side of the falls, or walk a winding boardwalk along Snoqualmie River for a look from the bottom.
Visiting the falls is free, whether you stop by just for the photo op or clamber down to the base. The upper falls overlooks offer easily accessible views of the falls, as well as picnic tables, benches, and the nearby restaurant at the Salish Lodge, a historic hotel perched at the top of the falls. Those interested in hiking to see the waterfall from the bottom can descend a steep, 0.7-mile (1.1-kilometer) trail through a temperate rain forest, with interpretive signage describing local flora and fauna and detailing the falls’ historic and cultural contributions.
The site is a popular day-trip destination from Seattle, with many travelers opting to pair a Snoqualmie visit with stops at Seattle–area wineries or other nearby nature spots. It's also possible to combine a Seattle city sightseeing tour with a stop at Snoqualmie Falls on a half-day tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hikers should be prepared with warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes, as the Snoqualmie Falls trail is often wet.
- A visit to Snoqualmie is perfect for families and groups with a range of interests and ability levels, with some wheelchair-accessible spots.
- Visit during spring to see the falls at its maximum output.
- The park area features a visitor center, gift shop, coffee stand, and bathrooms.
How to Get There
Snoqualmie Falls sits just outside the town of Snoqualmie, about a 30-minute drive east of Seattle. To get there, take I-90 east to exit 27. The photo-worthy waterfall is easily accessible from the site's two parking lots, one of which is paid and the other free.
When to Get There
Snoqualmie Falls draws some 1.5 million visitors a year, with most visiting on summer weekends. To avoid the crowds, opt for a rainy day or a weekday. The park is open from dawn to dusk daily. The waterfall flows year-round, hitting its peak during the late spring and early summer snowmelt.
Other Attractions in Snoqualmie
Nearby Salish Lodge's award-winning spa and hotel offer stunning views with some room balconies overlooking the waterfall, in addition to fine dining opportunities. Snoqualmie's Northwest Railway Museum is another nearby hot spot—it's the perfect diversion for railroad fans and is housed in a restored 1890 railroad depot.