Our rainy climate and mountainous terrain produces beautiful waterfalls! May is a great month to visit the waterfalls in our region because they are flowing at their peak, as the snow melts in the surrounding mountains.
If hiking is not your idea of fun, you can drive right up to the roaring and gushing 270 foot Snoqualmie Falls. The falls are very impressive and you can park your car easily in their parking lot, then walk to a viewing area. It takes about 25-30 minutes to drive to Snoqualmie Falls from Bellevue.
If you like to hike, you can find hundreds of waterfalls to visit in our region.
Here 8 great hikes you might enjoy:
(Note: for some of the hikes you will need a Discover Pass or a Northwest Forest Pass to park your car in the lot. Passes can be purchased online or at REI or Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.)
1) Twin Falls- This is a beautiful hike through a lush green forest that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It's located in the North Bend area, so not too far from Seattle/Bellevue. The hike is about 3 miles round-trip and not too steep or difficult, so it's good for children.
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/twin-falls-state-park (Discover Pass required)
2) Franklin Falls- This waterfall is impressive because you view it from the bottom looking upward, and it is tall, high, and narrow. It's a great hike for young children because the trail is not difficult and not too long, just 2 miles round-trip. Plus, the trailhead is only about 45 minutes drive from Bellevue area.
(Northwest Forest Pass required)
3) Wallace Falls- If you're willing to hike a bit longer, you will be rewarded with these spectacular falls. Wallace Falls is a series of several waterfalls. This hike is located off Highway 2 in the Goldbar area (about 1 hour drive from Bellevue/Seattle area) The hike is 5.5 miles round-trip. You hike through beautiful old-growth forest and catch some great mountain views.
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/hikes/wallace-falls (Discover Pass required)
4) Bridal Veil Falls- These gorgeous misty falls are located in the Stevens Pass area. You view them from below as they cascade down a seemingly sky-high wall of dark rock. The hike is about 4 miles round trip, and good for kids, as it's not too steep.
(Northwest Forest Pass Required)
5) Otter and Big Creek Falls- If you want a longer hike, this one is 10 miles round trip. It's more peaceful than some of the other hikes because you will find fewer hikers on this trail. The trail is called Taylor River Trail. In early spring, you might still find snow on the trail, so dress appropriately.
(Northwest Forest Pass required)
6) Sol Duc Falls- This hike is in the Olympic National Park, so it's much farther away, but Olympic park has some of the most well-preserved forests, which makes it well-worth the drive. The hike to Sol Duc Falls leads through a beautiful, mossy, old-growth forest and winds its way to the falls. A wood bridge crosses over the falls, making for a very pretty picture!
(National Park entrance fee required)
7) Palouse Falls- If you take a driving trip out to Eastern Washington, you will want to make a stop at our official "State Waterfall", Palouse Falls (approximately 3.5 hours drive from Bellevue). Its size and spendor make it one of the most impressive waterfalls in all of washington. It cuts through the surrounding rock and drops into a deep, wide, circular canyon. You can park nearby and walk to a viewing area to view the falls, and if you want more adventure, you can hike 2 miles round-trip to view the Snake River above the falls as it winds its way to the dropping off point.
http://www.wta.org/action/go-hiking/hikes/palouse-falls (Discover Pass Required)
8) Denny Creek Slippery Rocks- While it's not exactly a waterfall, more like a waterslide, this is one of my favorite hikes to do with kids in July or August. The hike is about 2 miles through a pretty forest, and then you reach a spot where the water runs over big, flat granite rocks and makes a natural waterslide. Kids and adults alike love to splash in the shallow water here on a hot summer day!
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/denny-creek (Northwest Forest Pass required)
Many, many more waterfall hikes can be found at the Washington Trails Association website: http://www.wta.org/