A very real waterfall close to Seattle?! Yes, please!
Snoqualmie Falls falling into the Snoqualmie River.
If you look for the standard “Things to Do” in Seattle, you will come across Snoqualmie Falls. A mere 45 minutes from Seattle, these 268 ft. falls are the real deal! We have already been to the Falls twice, once in January and then again in March and on both occasions the waterfall was dense with a lot of spray, which makes me think these are year-around falls that neither dry out nor freeze during the year!
Getting to the falls
The easiest way to get to the falls is through your own car. The GPS directions are easy to follow and the roads are in a great condition. There is a small parking lot, all too small for the amount of tourist traffic that this place gets, but on both occasions we were able to park on the shoulder of an adjoining road. If driving is not your thing, a number of day trips are offered to the Falls by a variety of operators. Once you leave the car, a small footbridge and a few more steps would get you straight to the different viewing platforms for the falls.
The footbridge leading up to the viewing platforms
The Snoqualmie River in the Cascades Mountain Range
The hidden gem
Don’t just head back after enjoying the lovely waterfalls. The best part of Snoqualmie falls is the easy access to Snoqualmie river. A short, shaded and absolutely lovely trail leads all the way down to the river. Here you can sit on the rocks and be really close to nature, making the hike well worth it. There are a number of picnic tables near the “lower” falls region which are ideal for enjoying a lovely picnic lunch. If a relaxing day in your mind does not include hiking, you can drive straight to the parking lot by the river.
On the banks of Snoqualmie River
The easy and shaded hike to the River
Hope you enjoy these lovely falls and the Snoqualmie River when you are in Seattle area.
Last Christmas, we ventured on our first road trip in the Pacific Northwest, first of the many I hope will follow. We drove about 2.5 hours from our home in suburban Seattle to the town of Leavenworth.
Leavenworth is nestled between the Cascade mountains. When you come to Leavenworth, you are amazingly transported to an alpine town in Germany – not only because Leavenworth is on the foothills of tall peaks, but because it is a little slice of Bavaria, right in the middle of Washington, USA, complete with shops selling bratwurst, store fronts bearing names such as “Kris Kringl“, biergartens and all manner of cuckoo clock souveniors.
And this town really comes alive during Christmas, with the whole main street decorated with fairy lights, a large Christmas tree, a Christmas market fashioned after the Christmas markets of Europe, and the crowds to rival any Christmas market in Europe.
Here are some tips for visiting Leavenworth:
- The drive to Leavenworth passes through the Cascade mountains and it stunning, especially around the Snoqualmie pass.
While Christmas time is magical, do not visit during Christmas holiday weekends. The decorations are lit up close to Thanksgiving and stay on well until February. The more the time gap between your trip and Christmas/ New Year, the less crowds you will encounter. The crowds take away from Leavenworth’s natural beauty and give the appearance of an overcrowded theme park.
- If you do visit in winter, definitely take a horse carriage ride in the snowy fields. The horses, decorated with bells and red ribbons, will make you feel you are on a reindeer sleigh ride in this beautiful winter wonderland.
- The more widely known hotel chains do not have a presence in Leavenworth. Most accommodations are of the charming bed and breakfast variety, tend to sell out quickly and could be outrageously priced. If you do not plan to spend too much time in the hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites is a good option for a decent no-frills night’s sleep and a surprisingly good free breakfast the next morning.
If you are planning to explore the beauty of Washington, US and the Cascades, definitely consider stopping at Leavenworth for its quaint Bavarian charm and gorgeous scenery.