Drive Along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

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.

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Overall rating: 

šŸ„‡Top Contributor

2 days ago

Have someone else drive

You want someone else to drive you so you take photos. It's incredible.

šŸ„‡Top Contributor

3 months ago

Beautiful drive

What a beautiful drive just outside of Seattle, with plenty of different vistas to see. There is a cool bridge that you can check out!


Hiked along the river, by middle fork. Absolutely breathtaking.


almost 3 years ago

Roads Are Smooth Like Butter

Probably one of the best drives I've been on in North Bend! They repaved the roads so any vehicle can make it through this area. There are also a ton of trails along the way and overall a great location for some nice pictures and outdoorsy adventures!


over 3 years ago


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.

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