On the Road: Snoqualmie Point Park

snoqualmie point park

 

Type

Viewpoint

Location

Just off of I-90 between Snoqualmie and North Bend

Special Features

View of Mt. Si and Cascade Mountains
Picnic Area

Entrance

End of Winery Road

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Preview

Snoqualmie Point Park is an elevated viewpoint on land that was once a winery. The park opened in 2008 and is owned and managed by the City of Snoqualmie, but came about through joint efforts by several public and private institutions. The park’s elevation is 1060 feet.

To get here from the Seattle area, head east on I-90 and take exit 27. (One exit past the Snoqualmie Parkway.) At the end of the offramp go right and follow the road as it curves to the left and then enters the park straight ahead. There is a turnaround loop at the end of the road.

If you are coming from the east there is no exit 27 from I-90, so you’ll need to exit at North Bend and use surface streets to get here.

Parking spaces are available along the right side of the road before you get to the turnaround. Two handicapped spaces are available on the left side of the turnaround loop.

At the turnaround are two picnic tables. They are oddly located right next to the road, so wouldn’t provide a very relaxing spot to eat. But they do serve as a handy spot to sit if you are mobility impaired and need to wait for a companion to go get the car.

Near the start of the paved path leading into the park is a sign with posted hours. This is a “dawn to dusk” park, but specific hours are usually listed here so you know when the gate will be locked. I’m guessing the hours change seasonally, because the closing time when I was here in March was 8 pm, which would be early for summer nights.

Much of the park is on a slope, but the path winds around so that it’s a gradual climb to the upper viewpoint and most people will find it easily doable. If you want to skip the path and go right to the top, there are steps up the short hill from the turnaround.

Just after you start along the paved path into the park from the turnaround loop you can choose to go right or left. To the right a short distance and then a little way up a hill, is a large sort of throne-like bench. I only noticed it on my way out and didn’t go up there because the light was failing, but I’d guess it’s a decent view. The rest of the path to the right loops around the lower portion of the park, but there isn’t much to see.

Taking the left branch of the path brings you to the bathrooms. There are two large unisex toilets, and they have the potential to be really nice bathrooms, but they were dirty when I was there, which is a real shame.

A short distance past the bathrooms the path branches again. To the right are picnic tables along the loop path that went to the right near the entrance. Due to the growth of the trees since the park was built, there isn’t much of a view from these picnic tables.

Taking the left path again, it begins its circular route up to the shelter and upper viewpoint. Along the way are four benches, and a small lawn area.

The path finally winds around to enter the view shelter from the rear. The shelter is a handsome wood structure over a wide gravel area surrounded by a low stone wall.

Under the shelter is one picnic table and a stone ledge that can serve as a bench. The view from the shelter area is quite good. In addition to Mt. Si you can see several other Cascade peaks, including Mt. Baker to the north if it’s clear enough. In the foreground are forests in the Snoqualmie Valley.

The best time to go to this viewpoint is in later afternoon so the sun will be at your back. I arrived about an hour and a half before sunset and the lowest part of the park was already in shadow from surrounding trees and hills, but the upper portion was still in bright sunlight.

This is a pretty spot to visit any time of year, but it’s at its best in winter when there is fresh snow on Mt. Si. I had tried to time a visit when I could catch it like that this last winter, but it ended up being tricky to find a day with fresh lowland snow, no low clouds covering the mountains, and at a time with low traffic so that I felt like making the drive. But if you can manage to get there on a day like that I think you’ll be amply rewarded by the winter wonderland view. You could even do some sledding.

Snoqualmie Point Park is under an hour away from Seattle, so it’s not an onerous drive if you just want to pop out there for a looksee on a whim some afternoon. Traffic was weirdly sparse on the Sunday in March I went and it only took about 40 minutes from where I live in north Seattle. It takes me almost that long to get to some Seattle parks using surface streets!

If you’d like to make more of a daytrip out of it, you can combine visiting here with stops at Snoqualmie Falls, the Northwest Railway Museum, and/or Rattlesnake Lake.

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Things to Know

Hours

Dawn to Dusk
Specific hours posted at start of park path. In March they were 7 am to 8 pm.

Seating

Two picnic tables at road turnaround.
Three picnic tables in mid-section.
One picnic table in shelter.
One bench off to right side of park.
Four benches on path from picnic tables to the shelter.
One stone ledge in the shelter.

Bathrooms

In building near start of path into the park. Two large unisex rooms.

Parking

Parking for several cars on right side of road just before you get to the turnaround.

Two handicapped spaces on the left side of the turnaround.

Parking availability can be unpredictable because it’s a popular park, but many people don’t stay long, so there’s good turnover. I was here on a cloudless March Sunday late in the day and several spots were open.

Further back down the road just outside the park gate is a wide area that can probably used as overflow parking.

Parking is also available a bit further away in the Rattlesnake Mountain trailhead parking lot if you have a Discover Pass. There are paths from that parking lot to Snoqualmie Point. It’s a very popular hike though, so that lot can fill up.

Usage

Snoqualmie Point Park is popular, both with people living in the Snoqualmie/North Bend area and people who come out from the greater Seattle area. I was here for about an hour on a beautiful March Sunday in late afternoon and saw more than 15 other people, though not all in the park at the same time.

The park is fairly compact due to the landscaping, but a lot of visitors just wander through to have a look at the scenery and snap a few pics before leaving again. So unless there’s a special event going on or it’s an unusually busy day, you can find plenty of elbow room and expect a peaceful experience.

Photo Ops

Mt. Si, Mt. Baker with a long lens, astrophotography.

Best light: afternoon.

Combo Outing

Snoqualmie Falls, Northwest Railway Museum, Rattlesnake Lake.

Web Resources

Map location

Snoqualmie Point Park page

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snoqualmie point park

2015 aerial view courtesy of King County iMap.

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