Click here to see a short video clip of the falls shot from the top of the southern cliffs
Since Snoqualmie Falls is now in our back yard I thought he would see I could do my best Lewis and Clark imitation and see if I could navigate a route to the southern cliffs off Snoqualmie Falls. These cliffs are nearly inaccessible since the railroad trestles that were the only access to the cliffs were destroyed. I set off on the adventure from the backyard of our new home with Jason as my hiking partner. We navigated through the dense forest just south of the falls. We reminded ourselves that this forest is considered sacred by the Snoqualmie tribe, whose ancestor's elders would meet very near the point where I took the falls photos to conduct tribal rituals, so we tread lightly and with respect for the forest. We were looking for the railroad grade that once brought sightseers and tourists to the falls in the early 1900's because we knew that this railroad once went past the spot on the top of the southern cliffs we were trying to get to. We soon found the abandoned railroad bed, barely visible through the dense bush that has overgrown the old line since it was abandoned in the early 1970s. But to our dismay we soon came across the remains of a trestle that had been destroyed (left). This trestle was to be our access to the southern cliffs. We tried to hike across the valley spanned by the trestle but we soon found the northern end of the trestle was once attached directly to sheer 90 degree cliffs, making it impossible for us to continue. So we hiked back up the mountain to look for another route. After navigating north again through dense forest and steep terrain we saw below us the railroad grade once again, but this time it was on the other side of the destroyed trestle. We were getting very close. We knew the cliffs were just a few yards beyond these 100+ year old tracks. We found it difficult to get down to the tracks but once we found a passage we were at our destination. I could only find a few holes in the dense growth at the top of the cliffs big enough to stick a camera through and get a shot of the falls. I had to get within 3 feet of the 300 drop-off to get the photos. The red arrow in this photo (right) shows were I was approximately when I snapped the photo at the top of this page. My next challenge is to get more photos when the river level is higher than it was this day, making the falls somewhat of a trickle compared to the fury it can unleash during higher river levels. I am already planning my next adventure to the southern cliffs. This time I will be taking a 16 foot pole to extend over the cliffs to get the most amazing photo ever taken of Snoqualmie Falls. Those photos coming soon.
More Photos of the Forest South of the Falls
Below : During our journey we came across this very unusual tree. It is a fully grown tree growing right out of an ancient tree. The ancient tree has nearly completely decayed away except an outer shell the encases the new tree. This area is so inaccessible we may be the only people to ever see this sight.
Below: A small trestle that once carried trains full of tourists to the southern side of Snoqualmie Falls in the early 1900's. Before the railroad abandoned the line in 1974 it destroyed many of the trestles but this one still stands. It is a 100 yards or so away from the large trestle that was destroyed shown in the next photo. The last photo in this sequence shows the only standing portion of the dramatic quarter-mile long trestle that was just a couple hundred yards from the falls.
Below: This photo shows the pool just below the falls. See the grassy edge at bottom of this photo? It is the edge of the southern cliffs and is a shear 300 foot drop. Needless to say, this is as close to the edge as my nerve would allow. The tree in this photo is rooted into the very edge of the cliff and is literally standing over 300 feet of air to the river below. I am planning a return trip these cliff only this time I am bringing 16 foot pole I can attach my camera to and extend over the cliffs to get the most exiting photo of the falls ever taken.
Below: The Snoqualmie river just below the falls as seen from the southern cliffs.
Below: Most photographs of Snoqualmie Falls that you see were taken from the viewing platform built on the edge of the northern cliffs in 1968. It's a circular platform about 20 feet in diameter that 1.5 million people stand on each year, most taking photographs of the falls. The panorama shown on our Snoqualmie Falls page was taken from this platform. This is the view of the platform from the elusive southern cliffs.