TRAILBEAR HEADS FOR THE VIEW: The Preston Snoqualmie Trail and Falls Overlook
The Preston-Snoqualmie is two trails in one, separated by a deep ravine, the Preston-Fall City Rd. and the Raging River. (Yes, it does rage. Its personal best was +4,000 cubic feet/second at the gauging station.) The ride is mostly shaded with a good blacktop trail bed, some root heaves, and very little altitude change.
That is, until you reach the abutment of the former trestle. On the Fall City side there are seven switchbacks which descent to the valley floor. Then, back up the other side. Walk this aerobic part.
The upper end starts at the new park in Preston at 47.523451° x -121.935157°. The park has full facilities and the trail is right alongside the parking area. TrailBear rode the portion on the other side of the river. It was something to do after finishing up a survey on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. He started at …
THE LAKE ALICE RD. TRAILHEAD, GE: N47.55065 W121.88782
Here is a pleasant trailhead off Lake Alice Rd. with ample parking, a picnic table, info kiosk and portapotty. It also has shade, which TB enjoyed, parking his Sloth Chair in the shade and snoozing off his lunch. Then mount up and on the trail.
The first leg was to ride out to the viewpoint. The sign says it is 1.8 miles from the trailhead. TB is skeptical of viewpoints in the NorthWet. Things grow too well here. All that water.
Unless the land beyond and below is logged to keep the view open, the trees take over and farewell view. The power companies know how to do this. They cut every tree in their right of way and keep them cut. You can see things when a trail crosses a power line right of way. However, the photos always seem to include power lines.
Head towards the view of Snoqualmie Falls and the first thing you hit is the Cougar/Bear warning sign. There is another one tacked to the post. “CAUTION: BEAR ACTIVITY ON THE TRAIL.” Don’t know the age of that, but there was not a lot of skat on the trail. Head on 0.6 miles to a …
WAYSIDE WITH A VIEW, GE: N47.54857 W121.87089
Not too much of a view; too many young trees. However, it is a nice wayside with benches and trash. For a real view, continue onward to where the power lines cross the trail. From there it is a half mile onward to the ….
VIEWPOINT AT TRAIL’S END, GE: N47.54385 W121.85080
The trail ends here with a set of gates across the right of way and a lot of young trees growing up on it. If the trail did go through, it would switch back down the slope to the river and run up to North Bend along the highway. You can see bits of the track at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.
In North Bend the right of way merges with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (former Milwaukee Road) and heads up to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail at Rattlesnake Lake.
You take a short left from the trail and down to the overlook. There are three viewing benches and the trees have obscured the view of Snoqualmie Falls from two of them. You can still see a bit from bench #1. We really need a housing tract below the viewpoint on this slope. Snoqualmie Falls is quite impressive – and much more so in the Wet Season.
Had enough viewing? Head back down the trail to the Lake Alice Rd. trailhead and beyond. Notice the two unmarked trails (covered in wood chips) which enter to the right side as you return. Both connect to the trail system out of Snoqualmie Ridge, just over the ridge. They have an extensive walking trail system. These two trails connect to the Deep Creek Trail, which runs along the side of the ridge. One leg up will take you to Azalea Park on the other side.
Once past Lake Alice Rd, the next point of interest is …
A SMALL TRESTLE, GE: N47.54579 W121.89897
Just a small wooden trestle over a small ravine out on the hillside. However, as the big one over the river is gone, it will have to do. From there another 0.2 miles puts you on …
THE SEVEN SWITCHBACKS, GE: N47.54446 W121.90273
It must have been an impressive trestle. There is a bench right at where the abutment once stood. TrailBear has been on the web, looking for a photo of the trestle – but no joy. Notice the sign commanding: HORSE AND BICYLE RIDERS DISMOUNT. A hot mountain biker probably could ride it down, but those are tight switchbacks and the terrain is steep. Just the sort of thing that would appeal.
Trudging up the switchbacks is mom, small daughter and smaller son. Mom is carrying smaller son’s bike and pushing hers. Daughter is doing OK pushing her bike. Very little whining. They just do it and gain the top and take a break. Nice to have a bench there. Nicer to have an ice cream stand.
TrailBear leaves you at this point. The afternoon is HOT and TB wants his nap in the shade. So, back to the Lake Alice Rd. trailhead and some shade time.
NOTES ON THE RIDE …
The trailbed gets an A. Smooth and no extreme grades until you hit the missing trestle. Root heaves in places.
Facilities - C. Lake Alice Rd. is a decent dry trailhead. The one at Preston gets a B. It has water and flushies.
Scenery – B. Lots of trees merits a C, but viewpoints and trestle are worth a B.
The Snoqualmie Ridge section would work well with kids. No extreme terrain or distances. For larger kids, consider the switchbacks and the whole trail. It would be about a 12 mile out n back.
Offering encouragement from his sloth chair