Snoqualmie Falls makes a splash as a winter outdoor outing
Some Northwest days it’s hard to wrap ones’ head around going outdoors for sightseeing. When it’s cold, dark and rainy, the last thing on the excite-meter is hanging out outside. But one favorite spot is gorgeous particularly on gloomy, foggy days and visitors love it – Snoqualmie Falls!
Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year. At the falls, you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck, the Salish Lodge and the famous 270 foot waterfall.
The free parking and free viewing area are open from dawn until dusk. Leashed pets are allowed. Lights illuminate the falls in the evening. The distance between the free parking lot and the viewing platform is approximately 200 feet and is wheelchair accessible. Directions
The trail to the lower observation deck is open. Video… Here
A brief history of Snoqualmie Falls
The history of Snoqualmie Falls is quite colorful. Though there were no salmon above the falls, the upper Snoqualmie River was a seasonal rendezvous and meeting place for the Snoqualmie Tribe (a subgroup of the Coast Salish).
As a spiritual place, it gave birth to many legends. One tells of “S’Beow” (the beaver), who climbed into the sky to bring trees and fire down to earth. The Native Americans who roamed the valley were known as people of the moon.
White settlers began to arrive in the valley by the early 1850s. Jeremiah Borst was the first permanent white settler in the Snoqualmie Valley.
By 1877, there were several logging operations in the region. In early days, logs were floated over the falls and down the river to Everett and Puget Sound. By 1889, entrepreneurs funded and built a railroad (the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern) into the valley, opening up timber resources to the world market.
In 1889, the town of Snoqualmie was platted by Charles Baker, a civil engineer. He also constructed an underground power plant at the falls in the 1890s (those original generators are still functioning today). The power plant resulted in electricity and jobs for locals, and soon a small company town was established at the falls. In 1911, a second powerhouse was constructed.
Such large waterfalls often attract daredevils. When that first passenger train arrived in 1889, it was a big event — more than 1,000 people turned up for food, celebration and entertainment. A Mr. Blondin successfully walked a tightrope over the falls.
In 1890, Charlie Anderson was less fortunate. He parachuted into the canyon from a hot-air balloon, but when he opened the chute a strong air current pushed him toward the falls. As the crowd watched in horror, another gust pulled him in another direction and dropped him on a large boulder; he died that night.