This open space is a small remnant of the vast prairie that once stretched from above Snoqualmie Falls to east of North Bend. The area was regularly burned by Native Americans...
Location: Snoqualmie and North Bend.
Length: Paved trail from playing fields to golf course (half-mile round trip), which connects with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail; or just walk through meadows (muddy after rains, with ruts).
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Level of difficulty: Flat to gentle.
Setting: This open space is a small remnant of the vast prairie that once stretched from above Snoqualmie Falls to east of North Bend. The area was regularly burned by Native Americans to create a habitat favorable for edible plants, and for deer and elk. The rich soil, created by the regular meandering and flooding of the Snoqualmie River, attracted white settlers, who grew vegetables of enormous size.
Highlights: Most of the land in this area was owned by Jeremiah Borst, the valley’s first permanent white settler, who helped others settle in the valley. In 1882, Borst sold land (at $12.50 an acre) to the Hops Growers Association for a 900-acre hops farm. For about 12 years, the farm provided seasonal employment to settlers and to natives who came from as far as British Columbia and Oregon.
After the hops market crashed due to insect infestation and falling prices, the land became the Meadowbrook Farm, and was used to grow vegetables and as a dairy farm. A preservation group is in the process of creating an interpretive center on the eastern edge of the farm.
Facilities: Restrooms at Centennial Fields.
Restrictions: No bicycles.
Directions: From eastbound Interstate 90, take Exit 27. Turn left off the exit ramp, and in 1.2 miles, turn left on Meadowbrook Way Southeast. Drive three-quarters of a mile, cross Railroad Avenue/Highway 202, turn right on Southeast Park Street, and in just over a half mile, turn right into Centennial Fields. From westbound Interstate 90, take Exit 31, turn right on North Bend Boulevard South, and drive through North Bend. The road curves to become Highway 202. Turn right on Boalch Avenue, and Centennial Fields is on the left in about 1.5 miles.
Public transit: Take Sound Transit Route 554 to Issaquah, and transfer to Metro Transit Route 209.
Information: Call 425-888-1211 or 888-4813. For public transit, call 206-553-3000 or see www.metrokc.gov/tran.htm.
Cathy McDonald is coauthor with Stephen Whitney of “Nature Walks In and Around Seattle” (The Mountaineers, 1997).