Snoqualmie Falls – Breathtaking and Beautiful

Snoqualmie Falls is twice the height of Niagara Falls.

Snoqualmie Washington.

Over 15 million visitors a year stop to see the second-most attraction in Washington State. Only Mount Ranier National Park draws more visitors than this 268-foot (68.6 m) high natural waterfall. Our morning visit provided a backlit scene filled with a misty atmosphere that made processing these images a real challenge. Many of the shots I took were simply unusable, the falls shrouded behind a layer of mist that drifted upwards off the base of the falls. I am sharing with you the best of the images from three falls viewpoints, only one of which provides a complete view of the falls.

Snoqualmie Falls
Closest viewpoint.

As we left the parking area just a short distance from the falls, we heard the crashing water. A walkway provides several views of the area around the falls on the Snoqualmie River. It’s no wonder a city sprang up just a short, walkable, distance from the falls.

Snoqualmie Falls
Upper falls viewpoint.

As we walked along the railed walkway, another view of the falls allowed me to capture the upper level of the falls as they begin their long drop to the river below. Snoqualmie Falls is one of the first sites of a hydroelectric project in the United States, and Washington state’s first venture into hydropower. Cleverly hidden behind all of the natural beauty, there is a low-diversion dam constructed in 1898. Some 270 feet (82 m) below the falls in a cavern, the Snoqualmie Falls hides the first underground powerplant in the world. A second plant downstream was built in 1910 and enlarged in 1957. Both plants together provide a generating capacity of 54 megawatts. If you are interested in more details about the hydroelectric plants at Snoqualmie, you will find them here on the Puget Sound Energy website.

Snoqualmie Falls
View of the Snoqualmie River.

If you continue along the walkway, you’ll find views of the river from high above the base of the falls, and if you go in the opposite direction past the falls to the east, you’ll find more information on placards and displays that tell the story of the powerplants that are hidden below. You can also visit the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum a short distance from the falls.

Snoqualmie Falls
View from the end of the walkway downriver from the falls.

It was a beautiful morning and the sun created many rainbows in the mists around the falls, but as a photographer, I suspect better views of the falls and the river below would be captured in the late afternoon when the sun illuminates the falls from the west.

Snoqualmie Falls
Approaching the falls from the parking area.

Our first glimpse of the falls reveals the very top of the falls. Some interesting cliff faces are exposed on the other side of the falls. Take some time to explore the area around the falls. There is a two-acre park and two observation decks. The decks are open every day throughout the year. The nearby Salish Lodge & Spa is a high-end resort that attracts many visitors each year. Located right next to the falls, the resort is the closest hotel, though there are other less expensive hotels in the area.

We visited on the first day of October, so the water level is lower than in the spring or after heavy rains. At those times, the mist is so great that it can all but obliterate the views of the falls. The river and the falls are named for the Snoqualmie Native Americans who have lived in the area for centuries. The Salish Lodge was purchased by the tribe in 2019.

To view the album in 2K HD on my Flickr site, you can click here.

John Steiner


  1. Feeling the mist of waterfalls are such an exciting experience. Interesting to learn about sites right here in the U.S. that I’ve never heard of before.

    • I really enjoy traveling to those places that are not so well known to share the experience. There are so many places right here in the United States referenced by those brown Interstate signs that are well worth the turnoff.

  2. Breath-taking and beautiful indeed! How did we manage to pass by these falls on our WA road trip and not stop to visit?! You have certainly shown me what we missed 😦

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