Monday, February 23, 2015

Preston-Snoqualmie Trail Winter Hike


Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

We hike almost every weekend all through the winter, so we don't let a little rain stop us.  But Hank, and especially, Tim aren't fond of thunder. It's not a good idea to be at the top of a mountain 4 miles from the trail head with a scared dog or two when the skies start to rumble. So when I saw that the weather forecast on a recent winter day included a good chance of a thunder storm I changed our plans to a shorter, closer-to-home hike along a section of the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.

Preston-Snoqualmie Trail Acess and Parking Lot on Lake Alice Road 
We started out from the parking lot at the Lake Alice Road trail head near the intersection of Lake Alice Road and SE 56th Street.  So, you may be wondering, where is Lake Alice Road?




The Preston-Snoqualmie Trail is only a small part of a large Snoqualmie Valley Trail system.  The area has numerous great day hikes including several that were once railroad lines that have been converted to recreational trails.  To explore the many great hikes in this area, I recommend Day Hiking - Snoqualmie Region, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.


 From the Lake Alice Road parking lot allows access to the trail in either direction with a paved surface that is family-friendly and can easily be used for bikes, strollers or wheelchairs.

Lake Alice Road Crosswalk

Today we opted to cross the street from the parking lot and take the 1.8 mile trail to the Snoqualmie Falls viewpoint.

Preston-Snoqualmie Trail - Snoqualmie Falls View
A closer view of the entrance with the trash can, doggie clean-up bag dispenser and cautionary signs about wildlife that may be seen on the trail, including cougars and bears.  Dogs are supposed to be on leash for this hike.

Moss Covered Big Leaf Maples

Initially the trail passes homes and barns on both sides of the trail, but it gradually leaves most signs of human habitation behind.  Along the trail are beautiful old moss-clad big leaf maple trees along with cottonwoods, western red cedar and douglas fir.

Private Driveway Crossing the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

After about a quarter mile, a private driveway crosses the trail.

Gated Entrance to private home on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

We walked across the driveway and past the gate to a home.  After this point there are only one or two homes visible along the trail.

Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

After the driveway the trail proceeds down a fairly gentle dip and then climbs back up which is really about the only elevation gain for the entire distance.

Bench on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

After a few more minutes, we arrived at an overlook with a convenient bench in case anyone wants to take a break.  There really isn't much of a view because of the tall trees.

View of the Snoqualmie River from the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

Further along, there is a view of the Snoqualmie River and valley where the powerlines cross the trail.

Picnic Bench on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

As we arrive at the end of the trail, there are several picnic tables for those who want to bring along a snack or meal.

Border Collies splashing through puddles

Since we were at the end of the trail and I could see that there was no one nearby that they could bother,  I let Hank and Tim off-leash for a few minutes and Hank promptly found a large puddle to splash through and and run some zoomies.

End of the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

The trail dead ends at a chain link fence and there is a sani-can and trash can.

Bench at the Snoqualmie Falls viewpoint on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

There are three benches to sit on to enjoy the view of the falls.  A warning to anyone who might want to stand on the benches to get a better view - in the winter months, the wood on the bench seats is very slippery!
Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls

And here is the view of Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge in the distance.  The late fall and winter when the leaves are not on the trees is really the only time the falls can be seen. 

Black-tail deer on the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail

As we made our way back, we did encounter one last surprise when a trio of deer were browsing on the sides of the trail.

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