Explore 8 Epic Washington Waterfalls Near Seattle I Adore

Washington State is like a big, open-air museum for anyone who loves the outdoors, packed with forests, rivers, and lakes. Right near the busy life of Seattle, you can find some pretty cool waterfalls. These spots are not just nice to look at; they’re an adventure waiting to happen and a perfect place for those looking to chill out or explore. Think about how fun it is to come across a waterfall when you’re hiking, seeing the water rush over the rocks, and just stopping for a minute to take it all in. This article is your guide to some of these awesome places where you can experience the magic of Washington waterfalls near Seattle for yourself.

The Pacific Northwest is a place where it’s easy to find a waterfall, thanks to all the mountains and the rain we get. This area has a lot of cool geological stuff going on, like volcanoes and glaciers, which help create the perfect spots for waterfalls. The rain and snow in this region mean that rivers are always getting a fresh supply of water, which keeps the waterfalls looking spectacular almost all year round.

In different seasons, these waterfalls change up their look. During the spring melt, they’re powerful and roaring with all the snow turning into water. In the summer, they become more gentle, perfect for a picnic nearby or just dipping your toes in. And if you’re into photography or just like seeing something different, winter sometimes turns these waterfalls into icy sculptures that look like something out of a fairy tale.

So, ready to see some of these Washington waterfalls near Seattle for yourself? Let’s dive into where you can find them and what makes each one special.

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Top 8 Washington Waterfalls Near Seattle to Visit

Snoqualmie Falls

Just about 30 minutes east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a sight you won’t want to miss. Standing at an impressive 268 feet, it’s more than just a waterfall; it’s a symbol of the area’s natural beauty and cultural history, deeply rooted in the traditions of the local Native American tribes. The falls offer excellent viewing points from the top and bottom, making it accessible for everyone. There’s also a 0.7-mile trail that’s more about the views than the challenge, perfect for a leisurely hike. Why visit? It’s not only a breathtaking view but a peek into the rich cultural tapestry of Washington.

Snoqualmie Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Snoqualmie Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Snoqualmie Falls: Drive east on I-90 from Seattle. Take exit 25 for State Route 18 toward Snoqualmie Parkway. Follow the signs to the falls.

Best Time to Visit: The falls are impressive year-round, but they are particularly powerful during the spring runoff. For a different experience, visit in the winter when the mist from the falls can freeze, creating a stunning ice formation around the falls.

Trail Difficulty: Easy. The short trail to the lower observation deck is accessible for most visitors.

What to Bring: Camera for the views, binoculars if you enjoy bird watching, and a raincoat since the mist from the falls can reach the viewing areas.

Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls, located in Gold Bar, about an hour’s drive from Seattle, is a magnificent multi-tiered waterfall that cascades down into the Wallace River. The falls have three major drops, with the tallest being an impressive 265 feet. The state park offers a moderately challenging 5.6-mile round-trip hike that rewards you with stunning views of the lower, middle, and upper falls. The best times to visit are late spring and early summer when the water flow is at its peak. Wallace Falls is the perfect day trip for those who love a good hike with a rewarding view.

Wallace Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Wallace Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Wallace Falls: Head north on I-5 from Seattle, then east on US-2 toward Gold Bar. Signs in Gold Bar will guide you to Wallace Falls State Park.

Best Time to Visit: Spring and early summer when the flow is highest due to snowmelt, offering the most dramatic views of the falls. Fall also presents a beautiful backdrop of autumn colors.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate to difficult, especially as you climb higher to see the upper falls. The trail can be steep and rocky in places.

What to Bring: Sturdy hiking boots, water, snacks, and layers since the temperature can change as you gain elevation. A camera is a must for the scenic views at the different tiers of the falls.

Twin Falls

For those who enjoy a scenic hike with a stunning payoff, Twin Falls is a must-see. Located around 45 minutes east of Seattle in Olallie State Park, this waterfall features two main cascades that can be fully appreciated with a relatively easy 2.6-mile round-trip hike. The trail takes you through lush forest to several viewpoints, offering close-ups of the falls and the surrounding valley. It’s an ideal spot for families or anyone looking for a quick escape into nature. Twin Falls uniquely blends accessibility with natural beauty, making it a top choice for a half-day adventure.

Twin Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Twin Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Twin Falls: Drive east on I-90 from Seattle. Take exit 34 and follow 468th Avenue SE to the parking area for Olallie State Park.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring when the water flow is at its peak. Summer is also a great time, with warmer weather making the hike more enjoyable.

Trail Difficulty: Easy to moderate. The trail to Twin Falls is well-maintained and suitable for most hikers, including families.

What to Bring: Comfortable walking or hiking shoes, water, sunscreen, and a snack. Don’t forget a camera to capture the unique beauty of the two cascades side by side.

Franklin Falls

Located just under an hour from Seattle, Franklin Falls is a stunning three-tier waterfall that becomes a winter wonderland when the temperatures drop. The falls freeze over, creating an incredible icy spectacle. The trail to the falls is about 2 miles round trip and is relatively easy, though it can be slippery in winter, so come prepared with the right gear. Visiting Franklin Falls in winter offers a unique experience, showcasing the beauty of nature’s ice sculptures up close. It’s a magical winter hike that feels like stepping into another world.

Franklin Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Franklin Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Franklin Falls:Take I-90 east from Seattle. Use exit 47 and follow the signs to Denny Creek/Franklin Falls.

Best Time to Visit: Winter is a magical time to visit Franklin Falls when the waterfall is often frozen, creating a spectacular ice formation. Summer offers easier access and the chance to see the waterfall surrounded by lush greenery.

Trail Difficulty: Easy, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels, though caution is advised in winter due to icy conditions.

What to Bring: In winter, traction devices for shoes, warm clothing, and perhaps a thermos with a warm drink. In summer, water shoes can be fun for wading near the base of the falls, along with standard hiking essentials like water and sunscreen.

Cherry Creek Falls

Located in Duvall, roughly 45 minutes northeast of Seattle, Cherry Creek Falls is a lesser-known but thoroughly enchanting destination. This 25-foot waterfall pours into a scenic pool, creating a peaceful oasis that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The hike to Cherry Creek Falls is about 5 miles round trip, taking you through beautiful forested trails. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to explore the tranquility of nature without venturing too far from the city.

Cherry Creek Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Cherry Creek Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Cherry Creek Falls: Drive to Duvall via WA-522 E and NE Woodinville Duvall Rd. From Duvall, follow Mountain View Rd and turn onto Cherry Valley Rd until you reach the trailhead.

Best Time to Visit: Spring and early summer are ideal, as the flow is stronger due to melting snow and rainfall.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate, with some muddy sections and a few areas that might require careful navigation.

What to Bring: Waterproof hiking boots, a camera for the scenic views, and snacks for a picnic by the falls.

Coal Creek Falls

Just a 30-minute drive from Seattle, in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Coal Creek Falls is a charming waterfall that flows year-round, peaking during the rainy season. The falls drop over a rocky cliff into a serene pool below. The trail to the falls is an easy 2.5-mile round trip, making it perfect for a quick nature fix or a family outing. The surrounding park offers a wealth of hiking trails, historical sites, and lush forest, providing a beautiful backdrop for a day of exploration.

Coal Creek Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Coal Creek Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Coal Creek Falls: Head east on I-90 to exit 13. Follow Lakemont Blvd SE south to the Cougar Mountain Park Red Town Trailhead.

Best Time to Visit: This waterfall is beautiful year-round, but the flow is most impressive during the rainy season, from late fall through early spring.

Trail Difficulty: Easy, suitable for hikers of all levels, including families with children.

What to Bring: Good walking shoes, water, and a rain jacket if you’re visiting during the wetter months. Consider bringing binoculars for bird watching in the surrounding park.

Boulder River Falls

For those willing to venture a bit further, Boulder River Falls offers a breathtaking view hidden within the Boulder River Wilderness, about an hour and a half northeast of Seattle. This waterfall features multiple cascades that tumble down a mossy cliff into the Boulder River. The hike to the falls is relatively easy, about 4 miles round trip, and takes you through stunning old-growth forests. Boulder River Falls is perfect for adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Boulder River Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Boulder River Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

How to Get to Bould River Falls: Drive north on I-5 from Seattle, then east on SR-530 toward Darrington. Turn left onto French Creek Rd and follow it to the trailhead.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring through early fall offers the best weather conditions for hiking and enjoying the falls. The summer months provide an opportunity to see the wildflowers in bloom along the trail.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate, primarily due to the trail length and some rugged terrain.

What to Bring: Hiking boots with good traction, plenty of water, snacks, and possibly a lightweight jacket as the area can be cooler than in the city. Don’t forget your camera for the stunning old-growth forest and cascading waterfalls.

Rocky Brook Falls

Rocky Brook Falls stands out as a hidden jewel on the Olympic Peninsula, offering a breathtaking escape into nature. This accessible waterfall is located near Brinnon, Washington, and is an easy drive from Seattle, making it an ideal day trip for those looking to explore the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula.

Rocky Brook Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle
Rocky Brook Falls Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

Getting to Rocky Brook Falls: From Seattle, take the Bainbridge Island Ferry, then drive north on Highway 3 to Highway 104, merging onto Highway 101 towards Brinnon. Look for signs for Dosewallips Road, and you’ll find Rocky Brook Road off Dosewallips Road, where a short drive leads to the parking area near the falls.

Best Time to Visit: The waterfall is a treat year-round, but it’s especially impressive in the spring and early summer when the flow is strong from snowmelt. Autumn brings a different kind of beauty with the changing leaves.

Trail Difficulty: Easy. The trail to Rocky Brook Falls is more of a short walk, making it accessible for nearly everyone, from young families to those looking for a serene spot without a long hike.

What to Bring: Pack water and snacks, especially if you plan to enjoy the area for a while. Don’t forget your camera for the stunning falls and the lush surroundings. A pair of water shoes could enhance your experience if you decide to explore the shallow waters near the falls. Lastly, considering the Pacific Northwest climate, a light jacket and bug spray can make your visit more comfortable.

Each of these Washington waterfalls near Seattle offers a unique experience, from easy viewing points to scenic hikes, making them perfect for a quick getaway or a day-long adventure. Whether you’re after the thunderous power of Snoqualmie Falls, the tiered beauty of Wallace Falls, or the secluded charm of Cherry Creek Falls, there’s a waterfall waiting to captivate you.

Things to do by these Washington Waterfalls near Seattle

Near Snoqualmie Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: Don’t miss the chance to explore the extensive network of trails in the Snoqualmie Region, including the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and Rattlesnake Ridge. For something less strenuous, the Snoqualmie Riverwalk offers peaceful riverside strolls.

Local Eateries: The Snoqualmie area is home to delightful dining options, such as The Attic at Salish Lodge for upscale Pacific Northwest cuisine with a view of the falls, or the historic Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom for casual eats and locally brewed beer.

Accommodations: For a luxurious stay, Salish Lodge & Spa offers elegant rooms and spa services overlooking Snoqualmie Falls. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying in one of the many cozy cabins or bed and breakfasts in the surrounding area.

Near Wallace Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: Wallace Falls State Park itself offers several trails beyond the main waterfall trail, perfect for extended exploring. For a different kind of adventure, head to nearby Gold Bar for whitewater rafting on the Skykomish River.

Local Eateries: Gold Bar and Sultan offer several quaint cafes and diners, such as the Sultan Bakery, known for its hearty breakfasts and homemade pastries.

Accommodations: Camping is available within Wallace Falls State Park for those who wish to immerse themselves in nature. For a more luxurious and unique accommodation, you can try a cabin in Index WA.

Near Twin Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: Olallie State Park, home to Twin Falls, also features stunning mountain views and additional trails, such as the Mount Washington Trail. The nearby Iron Horse State Park offers more leisurely hiking and biking options along a historic railroad grade.

Local Eateries: North Bend, a short drive from Twin Falls, is home to the famous Twede’s Cafe, offering classic diner fare in a setting famous for its appearance in the “Twin Peaks” TV series.

Accommodations: North Bend offers a range of accommodations, from charming bed and breakfasts to comfortable hotels. Camping is also available in the surrounding national forests for those looking to connect with nature.

Near Franklin Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: The Denny Creek area, near Franklin Falls, provides access to numerous trails, including those leading to Melakwa Lake and Kaleetan Peak, offering breathtaking alpine scenery.

Local Eateries: The town of Snoqualmie Pass, a short drive from Franklin Falls, has a small selection of restaurants and cafes perfect for refueling after a hike.

Accommodations: Snoqualmie Pass offers ski lodges and mountain inns, providing a cozy retreat in the winter months. Summer visitors can find camping options in the surrounding Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Near Cherry Creek Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: Beyond the falls, the charming town of Duvall offers several nearby parks and natural areas, such as McCormick Park and Judd Park, great for leisurely walks and picnics by the river.

Local Eateries: Duvall presents a variety of dining options, from cozy cafes like the Duvall Coffeehouse to hearty meals at the Duvall Grill and Tap Room. Don’t miss out on family-owned bakeries and ice cream shops for a sweet treat.

Accommodations: While Duvall may have limited accommodations, there are several quaint bed and breakfasts, as well as vacation rentals in the area, providing a peaceful retreat in this small community.

Near Coal Creek Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: Located within Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, visitors have access to over 35 miles of trails exploring the rich coal mining history and natural beauty of the area. For a unique experience, visit the nearby Bellevue Botanical Garden or Mercer Slough Nature Park.

Local Eateries: The city of Bellevue, just a short drive from Coal Creek Falls, offers an array of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to fine dining experiences. The nearby Issaquah Highlands also provide a selection of restaurants and cafes.

Accommodations: Bellevue and Issaquah offer a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, catering to all preferences and budgets.

Near Boulder River Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: The Boulder River Wilderness area itself is a hiker’s paradise, offering solitude and untouched natural beauty. For those looking to extend their adventure, the nearby North Cascades National Park offers breathtaking vistas and additional hiking opportunities.

Local Eateries: Dining options are more sparse in this remote area, but the towns of Darrington and Arlington offer local diners and cafes, providing a taste of small-town Washington.

Accommodations: For those looking to stay overnight, camping is available in the surrounding national forest. Darrington and Arlington offer a selection of motels and bed and breakfasts, ideal for those wanting to explore the area over a few days.

Near Rocky Brook Falls

Nearby Parks and Hiking Trails: The Olympic Peninsula is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and Rocky Brook Falls is just the beginning. Nearby, Olympic National Park offers a vast array of hiking trails through rainforests, along rugged coastlines, and up into alpine environments. For a coastal adventure, check out the Dungeness Spit and Wildlife Refuge, or for a forested hike, the Lower Big Quilcene Trail is a fantastic option.

Local Eateries: Brinnon and the surrounding areas offer cozy dining experiences that reflect the local culture and cuisine. The Geoduck Restaurant & Lounge offers waterfront dining with fresh seafood and local fare. For a quick bite, the Halfway House Restaurant is a quaint spot for classic diner dishes and homemade pies.

Accommodations: For those wishing to extend their visit, there are several lodging options in and around Brinnon. From rustic cabins and campgrounds to charming bed and breakfasts, there’s a range of choices to suit any preference. For a unique stay, consider one of the local vacation rentals that offer a more personal experience of the Olympic Peninsula.

Visiting these waterfalls and their surrounding attractions provides an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and local charm of the Pacific Northwest. From hiking through lush forests and exploring small towns to indulging in local cuisine and finding cozy places to stay, there’s plenty to discover beyond the falls.

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