The first tourists to ever visit Snoqualmie Falls arrived in horse-drawn carriages, said Jeff Carter, our tour guide from Evergreen Escapes. In contrast, our group traveled in a luxuriously comfortable Mercedes van.
Located about 30 minutes from Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls cascades down a full 270 feet – ten stories higher than Niagara Falls. The adjacent park was developed many years ago by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), one of our local power companies in the Seattle-Tacoma area. In 2009 PSE undertook a major park renovation and enhancement that won’t be completed until 2013. You can still visit the park, view the falls, picnic and browse the gift shop, but it’s hard to get a photo without a giant crane in the background and the trail to the bottom of the falls, which my husband calls a goat trail, has been closed.
When the work has been completed, PSE promises a riverside boardwalk, interpretive center, improved river access for whitewater enthusiasts, expanded parking and a hillside trail connecting the upper and lower parks.
Besides being beautiful, Snoqualmie Falls generates power. When work on that is completed, also in 2013, the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Project will have the capacity to generate enough electrical power for 40,000 homes.
The nearby town of Snoqualmie offers lots of activities for a day trip. See the Falls from an antique train that leaves from the Northwest Railway Museum. Shop for local art, historic memorabilia, specialty books or one-of-a-kind toys. Visit the Snoqalmie Indian Tribe’s casino, www.snocasino.com and place a wager or two. Outdoor sports include golfing, hiking, biking, fishing and kayaking.
On our tour we stopped at Rattlesnake Lake before driving on to the Falls. It’s a 117-acre, man-made lake. Not sure where it got its name, but I can assure you we don’t have any rattlesnakes in Western Washington unless they are in a cage in the zoo. That’s one of the reasons I live here. The lake was beautiful, ideal for picnics and the water dogs loved retrieving objects from the lake.
I highly recommend Evergreen Escapes, www.evergreenescapes.com, and they offer a wide variety of tours in the Pacific Northwest.