Drive Along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
Washington › Middle Fork Rd at 468th Ave
Added by Brandon Baker
A scenic meandering drive along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River away from the immense crowds of the main highway corridor. Explore roadside vistas, walk the beach, and explore the surrounding forest lands.
Some days you don't need to tackle a grueling summit or long mileage loop, just getting outside the city is enough. Driving forest roads is always an adventure and pays its dividend in seclusion, viewpoints, and peacefulness. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie (FR56) offers a photo enthusiast numerous picture perfect locations, a driving fanatic fun twisting roads, and an outdoors lover the natural environment constantly craved.
Grab your morning coffee and head east on I90 to exit 34. Once off the highway take a left on 468th and follow the road to Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (FR56), keep right at the junction. At this point the adventure is what you make it, there are stops all along the road to park near and explore. The drive to the trialhead mentioned below and back is 20 miles.
I will share my three favorite locales;
Eventually, you will come across a spacious bridge with ample parking on the sides of the road. This area allows access to the river and frame worthy photos right from the center point of the bridge. We decided to walk up river along the frozen river shores and with every bend of the river you are treated with sweeping portraits of the cold flowing river back dropped with the mountains of the Snoqualmie Region. For very little effort, you can gain inspiring scenery which is one of the reasons this makes for a great low-effort alternative to high mileage hike. After a few hours of river walking and an SD card full of photos we kept heading up the road.
If getting out of the car isn't appealing, FR56 provides views straight out of the windshield. As you curve through the forest hugging the river's edge, it becomes a challenge not to stop every thirty seconds to stare. I can't direct you too all the best spots, that would take the entertainment and originality out of it, but you will notice the big clearing with expansive views; park and sit on the hood of the car for a few minutes here, you won't be disappointed (about 9-10 miles in).
Finally our endpoint came around mile marker twelve where we stopped to check out the trailhead for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Hike. Here there is a sizable parking area with restrooms available. With a rumbling stomach we crossed over the hefty walking bridge to the shore and posted for lunch under the shadows of the mountains behind. The turquoise waters progress with a peaceful melody and the environment is lush and relaxing. From here you have the opportunity to hike along the trail to lengthen your adventure or simply hang out.
Set aside at least a half day so that the drive is not rushed, also pay attention to weather as the road does receive snow in the winter time.
- Northwest Forest Pass
- Camera Equipment
- Waterproof shoes or boots
- Layering items according to season
- AWD Vehicle (SUV is best)
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Chillin, Hiking, Photography
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I drove along this today all the way to the camp grounds and it was breath taking. The views of the surrounding mountains coupled with the flowing river really made for an amazing drive. I will say that an aWD vehicle is not necessary as i tackled this drive in a ford focus. There are some major pot holes in some places on the road but can be maneuvered around. A high ground clearance vehicle would make the drive much easier though but don't be discouraged by the AWD warning it is not necessary.
This was probably the first time I actually used the Outbound App to find an adventure and it turned out great. The road was bumpy - 4WD helps a lot, but beautiful and the hike at the end was awesome for forest lovers. Note that the road is only open on weekends in the summer through 2018 for construction!!
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