There is a lower section of the Snoqualmie Falls Park, and it has (had?) some nice features, and construction work is to make things much better.
However, due to that construction work, the park at the bottom of the falls has been closed until at least March of 2013.
After all, that is what the community is named for, isn't it? The waterfall that plunges over the edge of a cliff and crashes to the ground below.
NOTE: Significant changes have happened due to construction projects in 2010, and the trail to the base of the falls from the top, as well as the entire lower park that allows access to the river, is closed until 2013. Until then, about the only thing to do at the falls is look over the edge at the falls (but they are still attractive!)
This is a crowded tourist attraction, even during the "off" season, so expect to have trouble finding a place to park.
The main parking area is on the side of the road opposite the main lodge and the river. It is possible to cross the road using a pedestrian overpass. Some people cross the road anyway, which is somewhat hazardous due to the curves in the road creating blind spots.
A short walkway runs along the top of the cliff, and several observation platforms are available. The best viewing is from a covered observation platform somewhat downstream from the falls.
There is a trail from the top viewing area to the park at the base of the falls, and there is a park at the base of the falls accessible from Fish Hatery Road. However, both are closed until March of 2013.
The upper park at Snoqualmie Falls features a small picnic area set aside in the shade. These picnic tables are convenient to the parking lot, but not so close as to have obnoxious traffic noise. Look for them near the restrooms and the turbine wheel display.
There are some limitations on the use of these picnic facilities, however: cooking and barbecue of any sort is prohibited, for example.
Also, the picnic tables here have no view of the falls, or much of anything else of significant interest.
In the times when the rivers swell with heavy rains, Snoqualmie Falls becomes a sight to behold. The amount of water going over the fall is about 10 times what it is on a normal day. The mist can be so heavy that the bottom of the falls is not visible. It is in these times when the power of falling water is most evident. It turns this somewhat quaint waterfall into a crushing monster, and it is spectacular.
Even in the summer and later months of the year Snoqualmie Falls has a rather large amount of water that spills over it. Summer water levels also allow you to really appreciate the height of the falls. In the winter it is also quite the sight as it has been known to freeze. I've seen it once where the entire fall was a giant ice block with the center still flowing like a straw. It is wonderful to see it in each of the different seasons.
Snoqualmie Falls is one of those sights that will be appreciated be everyone from your 95 year old grandparent to your 17 year old rebellious teen. Undoubtedly one of Washington's best kept secrets, it is a natural wonder of mammoth proportions. Located about an hours drive east from Seattle, it has managed to stay pristine while the area around it has endured an influx of people.
The "Fall" is 268 feet (82 meters) and is enough to send mist throughout the canyon below.
If possible go when the river is at or near flood stage. The more water going over the falls the more impressive it is and the more noise it makes (that adds to the effect). There is a trail that will bring you to the bottom of the canyon for those who are more adventurous, but the view from the top is my favorite.
For those luxury travelers, the Salish Lodge is the place for you. They feature first class amenities and one of the best views around. It is quite expensive, but I am sure it is worth the money for the experience.
Go there as a weekend or day gettaway, because you can only look at the same breathtaking thing for so long before it seems not so breathtaking and looses its luster. There is a lot of old railroad memorabelia in the town of Snoqualmie, and a huge log that was forested in the area that is 10+ feet in diameter that is worth a look; but other than that it does not have too many tourist sites. It does however have that small town feel that is so wonderful sometimes.
In the summer months Snoqualmie Falls almost always has a rainbow at it's base. Basically any time that you visit the base of the falls near sunset the angle of the canyon makes for excellent rainbows. Any clear evening you will find many people scampering across the rocks to get a better view. The rainbow forms late in the afternoon and i would imagine it lasts until the sun goes down. The only drawback is that many people know about this phenomenon and you will likely not be alone. I have seen several couples in wedding attire taking photo's at the base.
The view from the bottom gives you another perspective and appreciation for the power and elegance of this waterfall, its 268 foot (82 meter) drop, and surrounding natural beauty. The trail from the upper parking lot ends at a viewing platform. Their are signs encouraging you to not go any further since the water levels can quickly change.
The river also runs fairly quickly from the bottom of the falls. However, many do venture further to the banks of the river. The views from either location are very good. When visiting at or near flood stage be very careful to not end up in the river as it runs very quickly in those times. People die in Washington Rivers every year.
From below the observation deck, which is the most common viewpoint, looks very precariously perched atop the cliff. The difference in elevation from the base and the observation deck to the base is 300 feet (91 meters) and the cliff is nearly vertical. From the observation deck looking down you can’t help but feel a little worried about your belongings or yourself falling off the cliff.
To see the another view of water falls, walk downwards from upper observation area and follow the river towards the falls. Watch out for slippery stones. It is totally different to see falls from the water level...
This is the Viewing Platform at the base of the falls at the end of the River Trail. It is elevated above the riverbed for flooding purposes. The park encourages visitors to not travel further than this platform however many do venture further down to get a better look.
Snoqualmie Falls has been a source of hydroelectric power since 1898. It was originally excavated and turned into a power producing plant by Charles h. Barker who was a Civil Engineer. The power produced at Snoqualmie Falls (41,990 kilowatts) is enough to provide power to about 16,000average homes. The facility that was originally built was done entirely underground and was the very first on of it’s kind in the world.
From the top the Trail to the bottom is fairly steep and is about 1 mile round trip. It ends with a Viewing Platform which gives you the view from the falls from the base. For those of you who would not like to follow the trail from the top it is accessible from a lower parking lot and the walk from there is less than 3 minutes.
For safety reasons, the trail that has connected the lower park off of fish hatchery road to the upper park is closed until at least March of 2013.