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Snoqualmie Falls recharged

  • Written by Valley View Staff

$265 million worth of powerhouse upgrades nearly finished; observation area revamped, new boardwalk & trail open

After years of hard work, there’s a lot to celebrate at Snoqualmie Falls, an iconic Northwest destination that attracts two million visitors a year and a place that generates clean, renewable energy for thousands of homes.  

Puget Sound Energy launched a comprehensive redevelopment process of the hydroelectric facilities and the property three years ago.  All of that work is nearing completion, from upgrading aging equipment to new enhancements that make an already beautiful place even more inviting.

Major hydroelectrical improvements 

A new generator and other upgrades at Powerhouse 1, the world’s first underground hydroelectric power plant built in 1898 that remains an engineering marvel.

The second power plant downstream has also been rebuilt, along with replacing aging penstocks (the pipes that carry water to both powerhouses).

Without using any additional water, enough electricity (54 megawatts) is now generated at both electrical plants to power roughly 45,000 homes.

The enhancements have sparked a 20 percent production increase in the amount of power that’s produced.

Improved ways to enjoy the outdoors

The popular overlook park and public areas have been reinvented, with new displays and touches that celebrate the heritage of the region, and the history and importance of Snoqualmie Falls.

New hiking trails connect the park’s upper and lower sections. A big addition is a rebuilt and expanded boardwalk that travels along the river and offers an observation platform with a view from the falls from below.

Near Powerhouse 2, there’s a new spot to launch kayaks and canoes downstream from the falls. Plus, a new lower level parking lot provides quicker, easier access to the boardwalk that runs near Powerhouse 2 and along the river to a viewpoint.

Even though there’s a grand re-opening set, the revamped trail and boardwalk are open and ready to enjoy. The grand re-opening celebration will take place on Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Falls. The event is open to the public.

Two upper observation platforms are open. Lights illuminate the falls in the evening. Parking is free.

 

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