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. Intrepid travelers can hike to the base of the falls and experience the spray up close, or take in the views from the side of the falls.
Visiting the falls is free, whether you stop by just for the photo op or clamber down to the base. The upper falls overlook offers easily accessible views of the falls, as well as picnic tables, benches, and the nearby restaurant at Salish Lodge, a historic hotel perched at the top of the falls. Those interested in hiking 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, which is 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.
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 of the falls, in addition to fine dining opportunities. The Northwest Railway Museum in the town of Snoqualmie is another nearby hot spot—it’s the perfect diversion for railroad fans and it’s housed in a restored 1890 railroad depot.