One of my favorite things about living in Seattle is that there is so much natural beauty at our fingertips. When out-of-towners come to visit I always like to take them to check out a few of the pretty landmarks around the area, and Snoqualmie Falls is high on my list for accessibility and scenery.

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Located in Snoqualmie off of Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie Falls is a 270-foot waterfall and one of Washington state’s most scenic attractions. (You might recognize it from the TV show Twin Peaks, too.) It’s super easy to get to, even if you’re traveling with babies or toddlers, thanks to free parking, free viewing areas and plenty of wheelchair ramps. There’s also a two-acre park, a gift shop, observation deck, and the famous Salish Lodge right next door.

Thanks to the two hydroelectric power plants at the falls, there are also some cool educational displays in the observation area, explaining how the power plants work and outlining some of the local history of the area. The older power plant was built way back in 1898 and was the world’s first completely underground power plant! It operates at the base of the falls embedded in the rock, 270 feet below the surface. Power plant #2 was built in 1910, expanded in 1957, and is located slightly downstream. The two power plants combined provide 44,000 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power 16,000 homes. (Facts via wikipedia.)

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The falls are gorgeous even on a cold and cloudy day, but especially when the sun is out. There’s a trail down to the bottom of the falls, but that’s probably best for older children. We like to enjoy the drive out to Snoqualmie on a lazy Sunday afternoon, then park and check out the falls — it’s a perfect low-key activity when you’re looking to enjoy the local beauty or do some sightseeing with kids or visitors. My parents even used a photo from their visit for their holiday card one year!

From Seattle, it’s just a 35-minute drive to the falls. There are plenty of other activities while you’re over in that part of western Washington — visit the North Bend outlets, check out the Northwest Railway Museum, or grab lunch at the Fall City Roadhouse.  Head east for a visit and let me know what you think!