You may have stopped at Snoqualmie Falls to view its magnificent 270 feet drop, but if you haven’t visited the lower falls park, you haven’t really seen the falls. The views from the lower park boardwalk are phenomenal. It’s easy to miss this wonder because while the upper falls are right off the main highway, the lower falls are tucked away. If you miss it follow the highway back down the hill and you will see a small brown sign that will lead you to the lower falls. I would suggest starting at the bottom and working your way up.
The first trains began to arrive in Snoqualmie in 1889. With the train came tourists and daredevils. Mr. Blondin walked a tightrope across the falls in 1889. Then in 1890 Charlie Anderson parachuted out of a hot air balloon, unfortunately he crashed on the rocks below and did not survive.
The falls themselves hold their own hidden secret. In 1898 a civil engineer named Charles Baker began work on an underground power plant located in a bedrock cavity 260 feet below ground that is still in operation today. In 1911 a second plant was built on the river below the falls. Wow! Did they make things to last or what? Despite both plants being over 100 years old and the upgrades they have received over the years, they remain PSE’s lowest cost plant.
After you leave the lower falls turn right onto Fall City – Snoqualmie RD and head toward the upper falls. Watch to your left for a small stone wall. This is an Artisan Spring. No need to stop here though, there isn’t much to see.
Once you get to the upper falls. You can pay to park at the falls or park across the street at the upper level parking for free. You can then cross the pedestrian bridge to the falls viewing area. You can also take a trail from this park down to the lower park, but remember if you go down be prepared to climb back up.
If you’re looking for more information on the two plants visit PSE’s Hydroelectric Museum. You can get their by heading towards Snoqualmie, take a right at the round about, cross the bridge and take the first right. There are several signs that will guide you in. Check hours on their website before you go. The museum is open from April to October. You can even catch the Snoqualmie Valley train at the depot there for a scenic one hour and forty five minute ride.
If you’re looking for another outing to pair with this one visit the Historic Snoqualmie Train Depot (post coming soon), Snoqualmie Casino, or the Snoqualamie Historical Museum.