This iconic waterfall is accessible to all! This trail has a unique feature in which there is a parking lot at each side of the trail, and both show off the majesty of Snoqualmie Falls
and the Salish Lodge. If you are a fan of Twin Peaks, these falls are featured in the intro on every episode. Here's your chance to see it up close and personal.
To get to the trailhead from Seattle, head east on I-90, and take the Snoqualmie Parkway exit. Railroad Ave. will drive right by Salish lodge and the parking lot. Park next to Salish lodge if arriving from this direction. This area is fairly populated, so expect lots of visitors to the Falls especially on sunny days. We found parking fairly easily despite the place being packed.
- Top Observation Deck
From the parking lot, it's less than a mile to views of the Falls! It's hard to miss the thronging crowd of people, or even the sound of the falls thundering just beyond. The best views of the Falls themselves can be had here. There's also a gift shop nearby, and of course the Salish Lodge.
- Lower Observation Deck
The Lower Observation Deck is accessible from SE Fish Hatchery Rd. From the main parking lot, drive north, and turn left on Fish Hatchery. This deck offers no direct view of the Falls but is from river level below. Hydroelectric machinery blocks some area.
- Accessing the Trail
To get on the actual trail, head away from the falls, parallel to the parking lot, and you'll see the boardwalk head downhill. This is the beginning of the trail. Please note this trail has a fairly steep grade.
It's doable by anyone in proper shape with no injuries, including children, but is quite difficult otherwise. I'm injured and overweight and I was only able to hike down the trail, not back up it (without a bunch of rest). This trail leads to the Lower Observation Deck, which has it's own parking lot, accessible to anyone.
- Trail Characteristics
From the Top Observation Deck, the trail is all downhill at ~10% or more grade. In-shape families with children should be fine, others beware! Elevation change ~150-200ft. This trail is comprised of multiple, long switchbacks, with a wide trail and gravel in some areas. Much is natural but you'll see machinery.
Typical of both to this area. You'll see anything you'd see in your backyard, and a few special plants and trees that have been allowed to grow without restriction here that homeowners may have had removed. The trail is very short, and much of it seems to be an access road.