Off the Highway-Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

We first visited the Snoqualmie Falls on our very short visit to Greater Seattle in December 2018. Our realtor brought us there because she used to work at the hotel, Salish Lodge, next to it. She said she would watch the Falls while having her lunch, and it was one of the best perks at work.  We were very impressed how close the Falls was to the suburbs… 20 minutes drive at most. Imagine being transported to somewhere very magical any day you feel like it.

After moving here, we found out that the Snoqualmie Falls is the second most visited park in Washington State, after Mount Rainer.  Over 1.5 million people come here every year, and it is also a popular venue for weddings.

It is hard not to be awed by the Falls. At 82 metres, (268 feet), the Snoqualmie Falls is more than twice as high as the Niagara Falls. But its allure is not just in the sight of the cascading waters; you hear its roar, and feel its power.

The best place to enjoy the Falls is from the observation deck, but you’d better bring a waterproof jacket and be prepared to be sprayed by the hitting the boulders. During the cooler months, wear your gloves as cold and wet is not a great combination.

There is quite a bit of history behind the Falls  First of all, the Falls is named after the Snoqualmie ( people of the moon) people, a native American tribe that first came to the Falls, reportedly 10,000 years ago.  Settling down around the Falls, the Snoqualmie tribe, numbering 4,000, soon became one of the largest tribes in the Puget Sound region.  The power of the Falls was viewed as spiritual, and  so it soon was a place of gathering and trading among the tribes, including those from Yakima, Wenatchee, Duwamish,Suquamish,lower Skagit, Stillaguamsih, Samish and even in northern Oregon.

If you think you have seen the Falls somewhere before, you are probably right. The Falls was featured in the tv show Twin Peaks in the 1990s, and which was recently resurrected in 2017.  

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The Snoqualmie Falls is part of a two-acre park that includes that just the Falls, but also a pleasant 1.4 mile (2.3 km) trail that leads from the observation deck to a boardwalk that eventually ends at the Snoqualmie River.

Hydroelectric Station

 Throughout the year, but especially in spring with the melting of the snow in the Cascades, and in the early winter months of frequent rain, the Falls powers the hydroelectric plants that generate 44,000 kilowatts of power, enough to supply energy for 33,000 households throughout the year.

Built in 1898 by the civil engineer Charles Baker, it was the country’s first completely underground hydroelectric plant. An engineering feat at that time generating 5,300 kilowatts of power, it has since been designated a historic landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. A second plant was built in 1910. Both plants are currently owned by Puget Sound Energy, the largest utility company in the Puget Sound area with more than a million customers.  The facility at Snoqualmie Falls is one its three hydroelectric power stations.

As the popularity of the Snoqualmie Falls continued to grow, the northside hotel at the Falls, underwent a 14-million dollar renovation and became the luxury 91-room Salish lodge in 1988. Yes, this was where my realtor used to work. It has a nice little café overlooking the Falls  and it’s a great place to eat some pancakes and hot cocoa after your hike.

The Puget Sound Energy Company has produced a number of very informative videos on the Fall. Check them out!

Citations

Websites

 Available at https://traveladvisortips.com/7-interesting-facts- about-snoqualmie-falls/ [Accessed 5 July 2020].

Kiddle Encyclopedia. 2020 Snoqualmie Falls Facts for Kids. Available at https://kids.kiddle.co/Snoqualmie_Falls [Accessed 5 July 2020].

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, United States – World Waterfall Database. n.d. Available at https://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/waterfall/S noqualmie-Falls-4668 [Accessed 5 July 2020].

Krem Maxwell. n.d. Snoqualmie Falls — Washington Trails Association. Available at https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/snoqualmie-fal ls#trailhead-map [Accessed 5 July 2020].

Snoqualmie Falls – Official Web Site. n.d. Available at http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/ [Accessed 4 July 2020].

Videos

Puget Sound Energy. 2012. Snoqualmie Falls: a Legacy of Natural Wonder.

 [Online video] Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrnXWL43I7g [Accessed 5 July 2020].

Puget Sound Energy. 2013. Snoqualmie Falls: a Legacy of Shared History.

 [Online video] Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHxV92SBnZA [Accessed 4 July 2020].

Puget Sound Energy. 2014. Snoqualmie Falls: a Legacy of Power.

 [Online video] Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsJFjMx7raA [Accessed 5 July 2020].


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