Take public transit to Snoqualmie Falls, and maybe hop a historic train, for a car-free getaway.
Is $4 gasoline blowing a hole in your budget? Then ditch that gas burner and go green. Here’s a summer getaway that gets you there with no time behind the wheel.
The objective: Incredible waterfall views.
The place: Snoqualmie Falls is the Pacific Northwest’s own little Niagara. Along with a stop in the quaint town of Snoqualmie, it makes for a nice, outdoorsy day away from the city (www.snoqualmiefalls.com).
What makes it special: The 270-foot falls are spectacular, with a good view from an observation deck in a two-acre park. (The hiking trail to the bottom of the falls is closed for construction until 2013.) See the falls by train and learn some railroad history at the nearby Northwest Railway Museum (www.trainmuseum.org), with 75-minute trips on weekends around noon, 1 and 3 p.m. ($8-$12).
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What makes it tasty: For a little bit of luxury, the dining room at Salish Lodge (www.salishlodge.com) offers breathtaking midbite views with tables overlooking the falls (breakfast and lunch on weekdays, brunch on weekends). For a more casual meal in town, visit Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom for good beer and sandwiches (8032 Falls Ave.; www.fallsbrew.com).
Getting there with no car: From downtown Seattle, take Sound Transit’s Route 554 bus to the Issaquah Transfer Center, then catch Metro’s Route 209 bus toward North Bend. It drops you right next to the falls about 90 minutes after leaving downtown ($1.50-$3.50 each way, or free for kids 5 and younger). The 209 comes every hour or so (no Sunday service), so you can spend time at the falls and then catch the bus into the town of Snoqualmie, or take a sometimes adventurous 20-minute walk on a path alongside some interesting old railroad cars (with an initial stretch close to traffic). See soundtransit.org and metro.kingcounty.gov.
— Nick Visser