A short drive from Seattle, but a world away
written by Ryn Pfeuffer
Located an easy 30 miles east of Seattle, in the scenic foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, Snoqualmie and neighboring North Bend boast abundant charm and natural beauty. For winter outdoors lovers, these small towns offer everything from adrenaline-fueled activities and fine dining to relaxing spa services and live entertainment.
For a romantic getaway, head to Salish Lodge & Spa, the setting for The Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks. The lodge’s proximity to the magnificent Snoqualmie Falls is a big draw for luxe travelers. After a brisk day outdoors, nothing comforts quite like the onsite sauna, steam room, and soaking pool. The award-winning onsite spa also incorporates seasonal organic ingredients into its treatments. Sleep well with heavenly bedding, a special pillow menu and the warmth of a fireplace.
For winter biking, hit up the Olallie Trail outside North Bend. The new 8.6-mile each-way trail starts near Rattlesnake Lake and features new singletrack and road-trail conversion. It’s a popular spot for bikers because of the trail’s excellent condition and abundance of viewpoints along the way.
There’s also the Raging River Trail System in Raging River State Forest. The trails overlay a previous hiking trail up Rattlesnake Ridge and several access fire roads. The first 1,200 feet of elevation takes bikers up a trail aptly named “Upward Mobility” to Stan’s Overlook. Again, the views are some of the best in the Cascade foothills. Note: Mountain bikes are not allowed on the Rattlesnake Mountain hiking trail.
Itching to get in a few more runs before you stow your gear for the season? Ski, snowshoeing, and snow tubing enthusiasts head to The Summit at Snoqualmie for its 600 acres of hills, runs, and slopes. There’s usually plenty of powder well into March and April. Hello, spring break skiing! At night, the mountain twinkles with sparkly lights—Summit West, Alpental and Summit Central all offer night skiing—and killer views of the Cascades—throughout the season. Fun fact: The Summit at Snoqualmie offers the most night skiing in the country.
For an après-ski beverage, grab a beer at Volition Brewing. The Myrddraal, a dark rye ale, is malty and refreshing. There are lots of low-ABV options, too.
For an upscale night out, Wildflower Bistro (21+ only) satiates with a creative menu. Start with the truffle cheese fondue dip before moving onto seared scallops with wild boar lardons. The steaks are also a reliably tasty pick.
For something more casual and kid-friendly, Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano is well worth a visit. This small-scale family-run business features a constantly changing selection of choices by the glass or bottle, plus a menu of antipasti, pasta, fish, meats, and a handful of pizzas. For a hearty comfort dish, don’t skip the beef tortellini tossed with cream, parsley and prosciutto. Pro tip: From Monday through Wednesday, order two pasta entrees, two glasses of wine and a shared dessert for $50.
Looking for live entertainment? Snoqualmie Casino has got you covered. Its two venues host talents like Great White, Slaughter, and TOTO. If you’re feeling lucky, there are also 1,700 slot machines and fifty-four classic gaming tables.
Before heading out of town, swing by Twede’s Café for a slice of cherry pie. It’s been an iconic staple since director David Lynch discovered the then-Mar-T Café on a 1990 scouting trip for Twin Peaks.
SNOQUALMIE + NORTH BEND, WASHINGTON
Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano
Salish Lodge & Spa
Raging River State Forest
Spa at Salish Lodge
The Summit at Snoqualmie