This past time I was in Seattle, I really wanted to get out and see something different. So, I made it a priority to visit Snoqualmie Falls, time permitting, of course. And even better, my father-in-law wanted to go to Snoqualmie Casino anyway, so why not take a day trip out to both?
Snoqualmie Falls is located just under 30 miles east of Seattle near the town of Snoqualmie. The falls has no physical address, so you'll need to get directions to the Falls Gift Shop at 6351 Railroad Ave. The parking lot is just before the gift shop along Railroad Ave., though there is also a lower parking lot too. The upper parking lot has a nominal fee, while the lower one is free. Oh, and from central Seattle, it should take you about 30-45 minutes to get out here during non-rush hour times.
Snoqualmie Falls is the location of a hydroelectric power plant. And because of this, most of the water is diverted to the power plant, causing the falls to cover only a portion of its precipice most of the year. However, during the wet season, there is often enough water to cover the entire precipice, creating a vast waterfall. It is during this time between November and March, though, that the spray becomes INTENSE. In fact, the spray was so heavy that it was almost like rain.
If you want to avoid this, definitely go to the lower observation area instead. For our visit, we were short on time and had other limitations, so we only visited the upper observation area. And because of this, I wasn't able to grab many shots at the falls, as I wanted to minimize how wet my gear got.
While you can drive from the upper to the lower observation areas, there is a trail that you can walk as well. We looked around the upper portion of the path a bit and found a funny sign. But after that, we headed back to the gift shop to warm up and grab some souvenirs.
Just 3.5 miles from Snoqualmie Falls is the Snoqualmie Casino. It is, as you may have guessed, an Indian casino owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe.
Opened 24 hours a day, the parking is free, the structure is stunning, and the views are grand. We popped in for a little gambling and some lunch.
We chose to dine at the Falls Buffet, which is surprisingly good and cost us just $16 per person. The foods were fresh, not stale or dry, and the selection was great. There's no big carved item or crab at lunch, but that's fine. It was all good and a great value.
Snoqualmie Falls, Final Thoughts
The Snoqualmie area, in general, is an excellent place to visit. I love the quaint, small-town feel of downtown Snoqualmie, and the surrounding vistas are just stunning. Snoqualmie Falls itself is a powerful, majestic sight. The people here are really friendly too, well, the ones we talked to in the gift shop and the casino anyway. At a minimum, though, Snoqualmie is an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of Seattle. In fact, one of these days I'd love to stay at the Salish Lodge & Spa. It's a wonderful looking boutique hotel on the banks of the Snoqualmie River and looks very relaxing.
Snowy Seattle Trip Report
Snoqualmie Falls and Casino