Snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains feeds the Snoqualmie River as it cuts through the valley to plunge over Snoqualmie Falls, creating a spectacular natural attraction. A trail leads to viewing platforms and down switchbacks to the foot of the falls.
From time immemorial, the Snoqualmie Tribe has considered Snoqualmie Falls sacred – its birthplace of creation. Mists from the thundering 268-foot waterfall carry prayers to ancestors, and the Falls provide the gifts of food, water, life, health, and healing. Today, the Snoqualmie Tribe warmly welcomes all visitors to this sacred place to experience its power in their own way.
In the eyes of the Snoqualmie Tribe, the development by settlers for hydropower, railroad development and tourism is a desecration. Puget Sound Energy’s Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Project, built in 1898, is home to the oldest underground hydroelectric plant in the country. Two powerhouses divert water from the Snoqualmie River to generate 54 megawatts—enough for 40,000 homes. Above ground, the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad runs historic train stock along 5.5 miles of the former Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway from the Snoqualmie Depot to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. Meanwhile, Snoqualmie Falls and the Salish Lodge are one of Washington’s most popular scenic destinations, drawing more than 1.5 million people each year. In 2001, 155 acres adjacent to Snoqualmie Falls was slated for development, until an agreement brokered by local conservation organizations with the Snoqualmie Tribe, Weyerhaeuser and others recognized the cultural value of the lands and set it aside from development. The area, known as Falls Crossing, now Two Sisters Returns, became a cornerstone of the Snoqualmie Preservation Initiative, which has protected 9,000 acres of land across the region, including 100 acres near Snoqualmie Falls.