Snoqualmie Pass Living

About Snoqualmie Pass

Snoqualmie Pass is a major recreational area in the midst of beautiful mountains and pristine national forests, located just 50 minutes east of downtown Seattle, and 40 minutes from downtown Bellevue.

Snoqualmie Pass Living

Snoqualmie Pass is a major winter and summer recreational area bordered in part by the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Wenatchee National Forest, home to the Community of Snoqualmie Pass and the largest ski resort area in the state. Snoqualmie Pass has four ski resorts, which are called Alpental, Summit West, Summit Central, and Summit East.

The Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort says it has won Forest Service approval for an expansion. The resort plans to build six new chairlifts and three surface lifts. It also plans night lighting on snow trails.
As part of the agreement, the resort is donating nearly 500 acres to the Forest Service for conservation.

The elevation at Snoqualmie Pass is 3022 feet, and hosts a bi-county community of 250 full time residents.

The dividing line of King and Kittitas Counties passes through the community at The Summit. Snoqualmie Pass draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, many to sample the wilderness beauty, travel the national forest trails, and a growing number who participate in the ever expanding recreational activities

Another feature of the Snoqualmie Pass area is the Pacific Crest Trail. One of the more popular hikes along a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, is the section from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass, which passes directly through the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This 68-mile hike takes between four and seven days for most hikers. A majority of hikers do this hike from north to south, starting at Stevens Pass and hiking to Snoqualmie Pass, to avoid an extra 1,000 feet of elevation gained when hiking south to north.Some follow the PCT faithfully, never straying far from this "superhighway" of Washington trails. However, there are many side trails and route variations leading to lakes, scenic meadows, and other points of interest all along the way.


Very few hikers cover the entire 2,000-mile length of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Mexico to Canada. For those who do, most complete the trail in sections, hiking a few hundred miles one summer and so on, until they have completed all or most of the trail. Likewise, few hikers cover the entire Washington section of the PCT in one adventure; more often they hike it in sections, from major highway to major highway, 60 miles here, 100 miles there.

Snoqualmie Pass

Just to the east of Snoqualmie Pass are the beautiful mountain lakes of Lake Keechelus and Lake Kachees.Lake Keechelus is the western lake of the three large lakes near Interstate 90 and north of the Yakima River in the Cascade Range. Lake Keechelus is part of the Columbia River basin, being the source of the Yakima River, which is tributary to the Columbia River.

The lake

The lake is used as a storage reservoir for the Yakima Project, an irrigation project run by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Although a natural lake, Lake Keechelu's capacity and discharge is controlled by Keechelus Dam, a 128 foot high earthfill structure built in 1917. As a storage reservoir, Keechelus Lake's active capacity is 157,900 acre feet. The name Keechelus comes from an Indian term meaning "few fish".

Lake Kachees

Lake Kachees is a lake along the course of the Kachess River in Washington State.The upper part of the lake, north of a narrows, is called Little Kachess Lake. The Kachess River flows into the lake from the north, and out from the south. Kachess Lake is part of the Columbia River basin, the Kachess River being a tributary of the Yakima River, which is tributary to the Columbia River. The lake is used as a storage reservoir for the Yakima Project, an irrigation project run by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The name Kachess comes from an Indian term meaning "more fish".

Keechelus and Lake Kachees

A little further to the east of Lake Keechelus and Lake Kachees, you will find the beautiful resort of Suncadia. Suncadia is a planned unincorporated community and resort in Kittitas County, Washington, covering an area of 6,300-acres. It is located approximately 30 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains between Roslyn, Cle Elum, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway section of Interstate 90.

The resort is a joint undertaking between Jeld-Wen, and managing partner Lowe Enterprises. The $1 billion project features a mountain lodge with convention center facilities, village center with restaurants and shops, a mountain springs themed spa, a sports center with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an outdoor venue amphitheater/lake with winter ice skating, trails and recreational areas, 2,000 residential units, and three golf courses.

Over 500 single-family homesites were sold in 2004, generating more than $125 million in gross revenue.

The community's open space includes a 1200-acre corridor along the Cle Elum River, which remains open to the public under a partnership (called the Suncadia Conservancy) that also includes Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Yakama Nation.

Eventually, most visitors, especially kids, will seek out the dogsled rides.

Earlier this season, dogsled racer Porter, 56, of East Wenatchee,Snoqualmie Pass Real Estatestruck a deal with resort officials for access to Suncadia to train his dogs. In exchange, he gives visitors free dogsled rides.

"It's a chance for us to get some muscles on the dogs," said Porter, who has competed in more than 20 races the last eight years.

Porter brings 14 of his 25 dogs to the track every weekend. The dogs get so excited that their first lap feels like a mad dash to the finish line. After they settle down, the ride gets slower and is gentle enough for children, making for a good photo opportunity.

When snow falls, his thick brown beard turns white, and Porter looks like Santa Claus out there.
A handyman by trade but a racer at heart, Porter dreams of running the Iditarod before he dies. He has bred or raised several dogs with Iditarod pedigrees, including Mary and Suzy, a pair of Siberian huskies who under other mushers have twice finished that treacherous 1,150-mile dog race in Alaska.

Suncadia, originally called "MountainStar," is being built on former forest lands purchased in 1996 from Plum Creek Timber Company by Jeld-Wen's Trendwest Investments.

Just to the west of Snoqualmie Pass you will find the brand new Snoqualmie Casino. The Snoqualmie Casino isn't visible from Interstate 90, and there is no sign on the freeway marking its location, but just off Exit 27 near the town of Snoqualmie, the new 170,000-square-foot mecca of gambling, dining and live music hovers over the valley like the mother ship of Northwest casinos. the new 170,000-square-foot mecca of gambling, dining and live music hovers over the valley like the mother ship of Northwest casinos.

Its imposing "great lodge" design, with two prow-like structures atop its massive roof, belies a glitzy interior that features an enormous gaming area filled with gleaming, state-of-the-art slot machines and eye-popping dining areas and lounges.

Surrounding the casino area are a cigar bar, a martini and wine bar, a high-end restaurant, an eclectic buffet, an East-Coast-style deli, a sushi and noodle bar, an "ultra lounge" nightclub and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom.

"What we've tried to create there is a little touch of Las Vegas," said Leonard Bergman of Las Vegas design firm Bergman, Walls & Associates, which designed The Mirage, Treasure Island and other gaming resorts. The general contractor is Skansa USA Building, which built Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall. The interior designer is Yates-Silverman Inc., with 40 years of experience in designing hotel and casino interiors.

Snoqualmie Casino makes up for its lack of hotel rooms with a host of sumptuous amenities right in Seattle's backyard -- among them a plush cigar bar with walk-in humidor, called LIT, and a luxurious, 88-seat, high-end restaurant, called Terra Vista. And there's a six-level parking garage for rainy Northwest days.

"What we've angled for is the attention to detail," said Gallagher, the vice-president of marketing. "It's not about quantity, it's about quality."

The 51,000-square-foot gaming floor features 50 table games, eight poker tables and 1,700 slot machines mounted on distinctive platforms, or "slot bases," with the casino's crescent moon logo (tribal members call themselves "people of the moon"). Plasma screens provide indoor signage throughout the building.

Snoqualmie Casino has made all restaurants on the north side of the casino smoke-free. And the casino has installed a ventilation system that can exchange all of the air in the building every 15 minutes, providing a less smoky environment than many casinos.