Olallie State Park provides the easiest-going jaunts available in the I-90 corridor, with short hikes (one to three miles) on well-maintained trails. But the casual character of these treks comes at no expense to their beauty; the routes travel through lush old-growth forests to a series of spectacular waterfalls.
What Makes It Great
Just a 40 minute drive from Seattle, Olallie State Park is the perfect place to visit for on those days when you just need to get out of town and into some nature, but have limited time. Plus, it is accessible year-round: come in the winter and the sights of the water gushing down will be all the more impressive!
The park is made of two main sections: the Twin Falls Natural Area, directly accessible from I-90 Exit 34, and the eastern section of the park, accessible from I-90 Exit 38. And then, confusingly enough, the two parts are connected by a trail through third park: the Homestead Valley Trail in Iron Horse State Park.
Olallie’s most noteworthy attraction is the Twin Falls, a 135-foot cascade that pours into a succession of foaming rocky pools. The standard way to see these falls is via the Twin Falls Trailhead, reachable from Exit 34 by a three-mile trail that hugs along the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and then climbs up some gentle switchbacks to the Lower Falls Viewpoint. After taking in the impressive sight from here some hikers turn around, but it is well worth taking the extra time to continue on to the Upper Falls Viewpoint by walking over the 80-foot long bridge over a narrow canyon.
Take note, however, that recently this trail has been closed due to a landslide and precarious trees. Check the Olallie State Park website for updates on closures.
But at this point in time, the Twin Falls are still reachable, from the Homestead Valley Trail off of Exit 38. From this side of the park, first check out Olallie’s second biggest falls by walking down the Weeks Falls Trail. This 0.5-mile route travels over an abandoned wagon road lined with the park's namesake huckleberry bushes (“olallie” means “berry” in the language of the indigenous Chinook peoples), until it reaches the 60-foot tall cascades. The falls have a small hydroelectric power plant that is unique in that it operates without a dam, instead drawing water from the river and down to the generation unit at the bottom of the falls.
Then, turn around to the Homestead Valley Trailhead. Hike along the Iron Horse Trail for a third of a mile to the junction with the Twin Falls Trail. From here, it is just a mile to the Twin Falls Overlook.