The towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend, located in the Snoqualmie Valley, are some of my favorite areas to visit when I find myself in Washington. This guide is an overview of what I consider the must-see spots in Snoqualmie and North Bend, and my idea of the perfect weekend spent exploring this area!
Start your day off on the right foot by enjoying an indulgent brunch at the Salish Lodge & Spa. The Salish Lodge is a picturesque establishment situated right on top of Snoqualmie Falls. The dining room features stunning views of the surrounding forest and the Snoqualmie River, and the whole lodge feels cozy and welcoming. For brunch, I would highly suggest treating yourself to their country breakfast, a multi-course affair with fresh baked goods, pancakes, oatmeal, meat, eggs, and more. The highlight of this breakfast is the “Honey From Heaven” service where they drizzle house-made honey atop freshly baked biscuits. If you have the option, I’d also recommend pairing the breakfast with a mimosa or Snoqualmie coffee (both alcoholic).
After brunch, you’ll probably feel like going to your room and passing out, but I encourage you to take the time to explore Snoqualmie Falls. There’s an upper and lower park, and both offer uniquely beautiful views of the waterfall. The upper park is less than a minute walk from the Salish Lodge, overlooking the dramatic falls and Snoqualmie River. To access the lower park, you can either hike about 3/4 mile down along a gravel trail, or drive to the lower parking lot. From the parking lot, you can follow a boardwalk along the Snoqualmie River that will lead you to a viewpoint at the base of the falls. There are also a lot of informational signs and exhibits around the park to learn about the history of the falls and the Snoqualmie Valley.
Fun fact: I actually used to work at the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum, located across the river from the Salish Lodge! The museum is open seasonally during the summer, but I would check the website for updates before stopping by. The museum is small but mighty, packed with information about the history of the hydroelectric plant located within Snoqualmie Falls.
Once you’ve explored Snoqualmie Falls, it’s time to drive over to downtown Snoqualmie. Downtown Snoqualmie is small and quaint, consisting mostly of local shops, restaurants, and a few more museums. There are lots of small shops and boutiques to pop in and out of if you’re searching for souvenirs and locally-made goods. If you’d like to learn more history about the area, I also suggest checking out the Northwest Railway Museum, which educates visitors on the railroad in the region. The museum also hosts seasonal events like a Santa Train around the holidays and a Thomas the Tank Engine weekend in September.
If you’re starting to get hungry for lunch/dinner, I’d recommend Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, a low-key spot with great beer and food options. Remember to save room for ice cream though, as a visit to Snoqualmie Ice Cream is a must, and the perfect way to end your first day of adventures.
Return to your room at the Salish Lodge, curl up by the fire for a bit, and get a good nights rest before kicking off day 2!
Snoqualmie and North Bend are surrounded by the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, which offers endless options for hiking. Near the Snoqualmie Valley you can opt for Mount Si, a difficult hike to sweeping views of the valley, or something more family-friendly, like Franklin Falls. I personally recommend Franklin Falls because the trail is short, easy to moderate in difficulty, and absolutely stunning. The trailhead is about 40 minutes from the Salish Lodge, making it a convenient destination for a quick morning hike. The trail itself is only about 2 miles roundtrip and will lead you to a 130′ waterfall. The setting is beautiful, though this hike does get quite popular, so try to head out early in the day, if possible.
After relaxing and freshening up following your hike, it’s time to head to North Bend, another picturesque town. North Bend is just about a 10 minutes drive from Snoqualmie, and make sure you look for elk along the way, as you can frequently spot herds beside the road. You’ll also be granted with beautiful views of Mount Si as you drive. Once in town, there are a number of small shops to explore, and even an independent theater that showcases classic films and hosts special events, like film festivals and comedy shows.
The real star of North Bend, however, is Twede’s Cafe, which you may recognize from the iconic show Twin Peaks. The diner was featured extensively in the show, and the staff are usually kind enough to show you some of the well-known filming spots and memorabilia throughout the restaurant if they have time to spare. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, Twede’s Cafe is like stepping back in time, making it a super fun dining experience. At the very least, you must enjoy a slice of cherry pie and an order of their “damn fine cup of coffee.”
And there you have it folks: my guide to an ideal weekend spent exploring Snoqualmie and North Bend. I hope you have an opportunity to visit these towns for yourself and experience their beauty and history, and I hope this guide provided you with some ideas on what to do and see!