Twin Falls

near Olallie State Park / near Issaquah / King County, Washington, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2.5
Twin Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Twin Falls seemingly felt like one of those locals only attractions that was charming in its own right, but lacked the notoriety and power of the nearby Snoqualmie Falls. When we first did this hike back on a Memorial Day Weekend in May 2006, we visited it right after doing Snoqualmie Falls. Indeed, we had to readjust our expectations for a more subdued and naturesque environment devoid of hydroelectric infrastructure and crowds. And once that was done, we found ourselves appreciating the beauty of a graceful 132ft waterfall with lush surroundings, which included some old growth fir trees. On a follow up visit in late July 2017, I noticed that they apparently re-routed and repaired the trail due to some flooding and landslides so it resulted in quite a different experience. Moreover, I extended the hike to check out some additional waterfalls further upstream from the one you see pictured at the top of this page.

After finding the trailhead in the Twin Falls Trailhead (see directions below), I hiked through a lush rainforest that immediately followed along the South Fork Snoqualmie River. For the first half-mile or so, the hike alternated between skirting the river and briefly veering inland amongst tall trees with moss growing on both the trunks and the branches as well as low lying ferns (both indicators of how much moisture the area typically would get). The close proximity of the trail to the river made me realize just how flood-prone the area can become. There were also some access spots for the river along the way (some of which had large boulders and rock formations). The terrain would remain flat until it reached a hill where I had to traverse a long switchback. At the top of this hill, there was a short spur to the right leading to a pair of benches with a distant partial view of the Twin Falls. This was said to be the 0.8-mile point of the trail.

Next, the path hugged a ledge before descending some steps then climbing again. This down-and-up profile was apparently the newly-built trail that re-routed around a landslide that occurred here in 2014 (part of the reason why I didn't recognize this trail the second time around). I recalled the first time I did this hike that there was a sign before an old growth fir tree, but apparently I managed to miss it on the second time I did this trail. Anyways, the trail would continue its climb (with the faint sounds of the I-90 traffic getting louder the higher I went) before reaching a trail junction. Going right at this junction, which descended a series of 104 steps, led right down to the best viewpoint of the main drop of Twin Falls. After having my fill of the falls from here, I then had to climb back up the steps to return to the trailhead (making the hike 2.6 miles round trip), or continuing on.

I opted to continue on to see what other waterfalls could be found in the immediate vicinity. Well, it turned out that the trail eventually leveled out then descended some more steps towards a sturdy footbridge across the South Fork Snoqualmie River. From this bridge, I could see a pair of smaller waterfalls further upstream as well as the brink of the main Twin Falls as I looked downstream. While the pair of waterfalls upstream from this bridge may be referred to as the "Upper Twin Falls" and the whole ensemble may be referred to as the Twin Falls, it wasn't clear to me what made these waterfalls "twins". Regardless, after climbing a few more steps, I reached another fenced lookout with a more direct look at the upper drop of the "Upper Twin Falls", where I was looking right into the sun on the morning of my hike (i.e. it's bad for photos at that time). The trail would continue up more switchbacks as it headed towards the Homestead Valley Trailhead, but this lookout was my turnaround point (making this hike roughly 3 miles round trip from here).

When I returned to the trailhead, I was pretty surprised at how busy the trailhead became (this was around 8:20am on a Sunday morning after getting a 6:25am start). So despite its relative lack of notoriety compared to Snoqualmie Falls, Twin Falls was still quite a popular attraction.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Snoqualmie Falls was the more famous waterfall in the area, thereby relegating Twin Falls to relative obscurity known more to locals and waterfall loversSnoqualmie Falls was the more famous waterfall in the area, thereby relegating Twin Falls to relative obscurity known more to locals and waterfall lovers
Twin Falls was probably about an hour or less drive east of Seattle, which itself was a beautiful city, especially on a clear day like today when we saw Mt Rainier from Kerry ParkTwin Falls was probably about an hour or less drive east of Seattle, which itself was a beautiful city, especially on a clear day like today when we saw Mt Rainier from Kerry Park
One of Seattle's most iconic landmarks is the Space Needle, which is pictured here from the bottom. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's worth overpaying to go upOne of Seattle's most iconic landmarks is the Space Needle, which is pictured here from the bottom. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's worth overpaying to go up
Julie's cousins who live in Issaquah showed us this nice spot off the eastern shore of Lake Washington somewhere near KirklandJulie's cousins who live in Issaquah showed us this nice spot off the eastern shore of Lake Washington somewhere near Kirkland
This was the end of the road and the start of the Twin Falls TrailThis was the end of the road and the start of the hike

Almost immediately, the trail followed along the South Fork Snoqualmie RiverAlmost immediately, the trail followed along the South Fork Snoqualmie River

When the Twin Falls Trail wasn't right next to the river, it meandered past trees with moss growing on them as well as some bushesWhen the trail wasn't right next to the river, it meandered past trees with moss growing on them as well as some bushes

This was one of the spots where I was able to access the South Fork Snoqualmie River along the Twin Falls TrailThis was one of the spots where I was able to access the South Fork Snoqualmie River along the trail

Another look at some of the mossy trees growing alongside the Twin Falls TrailAnother look at some of the mossy trees growing alongside the trail

After around 0.6 miles, the Twin Falls Trail started climbingAfter around 0.6 miles, the trail started climbing

Approaching a switchback on the first hill climbApproaching a switchback on the first hill climb

This was the Twin Falls Overlook, where a pair of rest benches afforded a partial view of the main drop of the waterfallThis was the Twin Falls Overlook, where a pair of rest benches afforded a partial view of the main drop of the waterfall

More zoomed in look at Twin Falls from the overlook, where I noticed some upper drops that gave me the idea to pursue themMore zoomed in look at Twin Falls from the overlook, where I noticed some upper drops that gave me the idea to pursue them

Back in 2006, I believe the overlook was more overgrown as evidenced by this photoBack in 2006, I believe the overlook was more overgrown as evidenced by this photo

Looking back at the ledge portion of the Twin Falls Trail shortly after experiencing the overlookLooking back at the ledge portion of the trail shortly after experiencing the overlook

This was where the Twin Falls Trail descended to get around a landslide that occurred in 2014This was where the trail descended to get around a landslide that occurred in 2014

Old Growth Fir Tree signage we saw along the way to Twin Falls in 2006 though I missed this on the second visitOld Growth Fir Tree signage we saw along the way to the falls in 2006 though I missed this on the second visit

Now, the Twin Falls Trail started climbing againNow, the trail started climbing again

During the second ascent, I noticed this block of wood on the ground, which made me wonder if the trail was buried as this could very well have been a benchDuring the second ascent, I noticed this block of wood on the ground, which made me wonder if the trail was buried as this could very well have been a bench

This was the trail junction where the spur trail on the right led down to the closest view of Twin FallsThis was the trail junction where the spur trail on the right led down to the closest view of the falls

Approaching the overlooks at the end of the spur trail overlooking Twin FallsApproaching the overlooks at the end of the spur trail overlooking the falls

Looking down at the Twin Falls, which didn't appear to change much over the yearsLooking down at the waterfall, which didn't appear to change much over the years

Back in May 2006, the South Fork Snoqualmie River had much higher flow, and this was what Twin Falls looked like back thenBack in May 2006, the South Fork Snoqualmie River had much higher flow, and this was what the falls looked like back then

Going back up the 104 steps to regain the Twin Falls TrailGoing back up the 104 steps to regain the main trail

Approaching the bridge over the South Fork Snoqualmie River between the upper and lower drops of Twin FallsApproaching the bridge over the South Fork Snoqualmie River between the upper and lower drops of the falls

Looking downstream from the bridge towards the brink of the main drop of Twin FallsLooking downstream from the bridge towards the brink of the main drop of the falls

Looking upstream towards a pair of drops comprising what I believe to be the Upper Twin FallsLooking upstream towards a pair of drops comprising what I believe to be the Upper Twin Falls

Approaching a lookout with a more direct look at the upper drop of the Upper Twin FallsApproaching a lookout with a more direct look at the upper drop of the Upper Twin Falls

Looking against the sun at the upper drop of the Upper Twin FallsLooking against the sun at the upper drop of the Upper Twin Falls

Hiking alongside the South Fork Snoqualmie River as I was making my way back to the trailheadHiking alongside the South Fork Snoqualmie River as I was making my way back to the trailhead

Julie hiking along the South Fork Snoqualmie River on the return hike back in 2006. Note how close the water was to the trail compared to the previous photoJulie hiking along the South Fork Snoqualmie River on the return hike back in 2006. Note how close the water was to the trail compared to the previous photo

To my surprise, the Twin Falls Trailhead was now quite busy when I finished by hikeTo my surprise, the trailhead was now quite busy when I finished my hike


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Video showing the view from a couple of spots at the Twin Falls Lookout


Checking out the Upper Twin Falls from the bridge as well as looking downstream towards the brink of the main Twin Falls


360 degree sweep from the Twin Falls Overlook


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We'll pick up the driving directions from Seattle since that would be the most familiar starting point for visitors. So from the downtown area, we briefly headed south on the I-5 before heading east on the I-90. We then would stay on the I-90 east for a little over 25 miles (crossing over the floating bridge traversing Lake Washington and going past the Snoqualmie Falls Parkway exit along the way). We then took exit 34 for 468th Ave SE, where we then turned right to go south on 468th Ave SE. Then, after about 0.6 miles, we turned left to go onto SE 159th St (there was also a brown sign directing me to turn left there). In another 0.6 miles, the road terminated at the Twin Falls Trailhead.

Overall, according to GoogleMaps, this 36-mile drive would take about 45 minutes. It took me about 25 minutes to make this drive in light traffic from Issaquah. I had to pay and display the Discover Pass at $10 per vehicle as my Interagency Pass was not accepted here.

Finally for some geographical context, Seattle was 173 miles (over 2.5 hours drive) north of Portland, Oregon, 143 miles (about 2.5 hours drive not counting border crossing delays) south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and 1,137 miles (17 hours drive) north of Los Angeles, California.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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Great hike (Twin Falls - correction) 
Hiked here with my 4 year old son. Great hike, but it's exit 34 off I-90, not 35.

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