Operated as part of the Northwest Railway Museum, the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad is the operating tourist railroad that gives people a train trip from Snoqualmie to North Bend. Until early in 2010, that train trip also included a trip west to view Snoqualmie Falls from the railroad line, but impacts from the construction project ongoing at the Snoqualmie Falls hydroelectric plant have caused that part of the route to be closed for now. Ticket prices on the railroad have been reduced somewhat accordingly.
The locomotive used to power the trains are diesel locomotives from the 1940s or 1950s, but the passenger cars are usually wooden stock dating from the 1910s and 1920s. Many are ex-Spokane Portland and Seattle Railway or other Pacific Northwest equipment.
There is enough seating capacity on the trails to allow people to start at one end of the (North Bend or Snoqualmie), visit the town at the other end of their starting point, and return on a later train. Speeds are very limited, and tend towards the 10 mph range.
The Snoqualmie Falls section of the line (currently out of service, as stated above) is quite spectacular, and features tall bridges over ravines along the river.
The Snoqualmie to North Bend section of the line runs through forest land along the farm land of the Snoqualmie Valley that is rapidly being taken over by suburban sprawl and relatively unattractive commercial development. The line is still reasonably attractive, especially with the foothills of the Cascade Mountains towering over the base of the Snoqualmie Valley, but this section of the line really isn't anything that special. There is a bridge over the Snoqualmie River that provides attractive views of the river.
Part playground, part picnic spot, part walkway, and part historical display, the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie has a number of historic artifacts of local railway history. This includes a few steam locomotives that have yet to be restored, and a few diesel locomotives (some of which are operational), and freight and passenger cars.
Outdoor displays include several locomotives with staircases so that people are able to enter the equipment. It seems to be a popular thing for children to be posed by their parents or grandparents on this equipment for photographs. Some of the equipment is marked as not being safe to climb on.
Inside the Snoqualmie station, there are several history displays and displays of photographs of railroads in the area. The station bay window has a mock up of what the station master's office would have looked like in the early part of the 20th century, when this railroad was an important link to the outside world for local residents and industry.
Currently, much of the historic equipment owned by the Northwest Railway Museum is stored outdoors. This is an unfortunate situation, but also soon to be rectified as the museum has constructed a restoration center, and as of September of 2010 track is being laid into the building. In the coming years, and not so very distant, the historical displays here will include railroad equipment restored and indoors out of the weather that is causing it to decay.
The museum also operates tourist railway service, but I have covered that in a separate tip as it really is a separate activity.
Just north of town, the old Milwaukee Road railroad line has been converted into a hiking and biking trail. The access from town is a little obscure, but it is an easy (though somewhat long) walk on city sidewalks almost the entire way there.
The section of the trail in Snoqualmie is far from Interstate 90 and other busy roads, so the traffic noise is fairly distant.
However, the trail here is not extremely interesting. There are views of distant mountains, and the rock formations to the north are kind of interesting, but the fact is that for the most part this is a flat, level, straight trail that has few viewpoints. The short section where the trail crosses the Snoqualmie River is the best scenery, along with some of the views by the Off-Leash Dog Park.
The trail is also fairly heavily packed gravel. While this is better for your feet than concrete or asphalt, it is tiring to walk on this stuff. For bikes, however, it is wonderful, and you don't need a mountain bike to use this section of the trail. In fact, I saw dozens of regular road bikes through here, and maybe one mountain bike.
Larry took me to the Salish Lodge and Spa. It was one of the most beautiful places (experience, as...more
6501 Railroad Ave Se
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
603 State Route 906, Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, 98068, United States
Good for: Families
8 St Anton Strasse, Snoqualmie, WA, 98068
Live music, plus bookstore, plus restaurant, plus memorabilia store, and the interior is decorated with a number of items from local artists - some with prices and some with "make offer". I highly suggest taking a look at all of the items on the wall, as they include some special personal items from the staff, as well as some artistic efforts that are more museum displays than artwork (and not for sale - at least not yet).
Favorite Dish: I had the 1/2 sandwich with soup for $8.75, added an Italian Soda and some wonderful looking material from the dessert counter, and after sales tax it was $16.58.
The soup was wonderful, but I don't have any record as to what they were serving today.
The primary attraction of this park is the huge athletic fields that are here. From time to time there are special events held here, and it may be useful to take a look at local events schedules to see what is going on at the park during your visit.
There is also a fairly extensive playground.
There is also a large parking lot.
The primary reason why I came to this park is that it is on the way from the downtown area to the link between city streets and the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. If you came here by driving you may find it better to park across the street from the off-leash dog area, as the off-leash dog area has very limited parking. On the other hand, if you came to Snoqualmie by driving and have a car available, it would probably be better to find a different trailhead than the one offered here, as this section of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail is not exceptionally interesting. It isn't bad or ugly or anything, but it also doesn't have anything remarkable either.
On the other hand, if you arrived in Snoqualmie by public transit, Centennial Park is a significant landmark on your way to the off-leash dog area that links the city streets of Snoqualmie with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
Really it was so special for us coming fom what I have termed, "The Land of the Cold Christmas" because we got to ski on Christmas day. This was our second "cold" Christmas in a row (previous one in New York during our honeymoon), but our first "White Christmas". Mind you we then had another 3 in a row in the winter wonderland Wisconsin, but we didn't ski on Christmas day again so this still remains a special memory for us, despite being so far away from loved ones and missing (lol) the normaol scorching heat of Aussie Christmas Day!
Equipment: We had our own gear with us (including boots & skis), but check the website below to see what hire/rental stuff is available. That holiday we also skied at Whistler, tiny little Sunburst at West Bend then Whitecap Mountains (both in Wisconsin & the latter being a great ski area in far north-western) si it was whorthwhile bringing our gear all the way form Australia.
For you dear traveller, if you're interested then check out the website below for what you can get and for what cost to see what is most worthwhile for you.