One of our longest regional trails is the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (SVT). At 31.5 miles, the SVT reaches from Duvall to Rattlesnake Lake, where it meets up with the John Wayne Pioneer Trail that continues for a whopping 253-miles across Washington to the border of Idaho.
While primarily winding alongside the Snoqualmie River, the trail passes through lush farmland, three natural areas—Stillwater, Chinook Bend, and Griffin Creek—and five rural cities—Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, and North Bend. On this trip, I set out to visit the Stillwater Natural Area, as well as the Chinook Bend Natural Area, just north of Carnation.
As I walked up onto the trail from the parking area just north of a little market on SR 203, a warm fall breeze rustled double samara seeds from nearby maple trees. Leaves fluttered in between the seeds’ twirling descent, as chickadees and flickers flitted from shrub to shrub and tree to tree.
Although the entire Snoqualmie Valley wasn’t quite yet lit up with fall’s colorful fire, many trees along the trail had already begun to turn. The SVT is a great way to take a tour of the changing season. It is one of our unpaved, soft-surface trails, but the soil is hard and compact enough to ride a touring or mountain bike on the trail.
I turned around where the trail intersected with SR 203, headed back across the fenced bridges, through the corn fields in various stages of harvest, and ran into Pat and Audra. A daughter and mother-in-law duo, they walk the trail at least three times a week, especially in the summer.
“We love this trail,” said Pat. “The only thing that would make it better is if I lived closer to it.” Both ladies participated in Beat the Blerch and look forward to checking out more of the trail south of Carnation.
Up from the valley, just east of Fall City, the SVT curves among towering cedars and pines. The turn of the season is a little less evident among the evergreens and ferns, and mid-morning walkers give way to geared-up mountain bikers out for an afternoon ride.
I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the SVT today, but it’s only left me with a desire to see more. From farmland to mountain pass, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail is a unique and rich portion of our 175-mile-long Regional Trails System. Pick a portion of the trail to call your own and get out into your big backyard!