Do It Here, Then Do It There…Snoqualmie Falls in the Pacific Northwest and Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica
When hiking, there’s not much more of a thrill to the end of a hike – or along it – than a rushing, sparkling waterfall. From a raging waterfall among pine trees in the Pacific Northwest to a series of tropical waterfalls in the balmy Caribbean, here are two top picks for waterfall hikes whether you’re staying close to home or traveling farther away.
For those on the west coast of the United States, Seattle is an easy flight or drive away – or you may even call it home. While the city of Seattle is full of gorgeous sights and fun things to do, those who are willing to venture a bit out of the city and into the wilderness are in for a visually amazing experience. This is particularly the case if you travel 45 minutes east of the city to Snoqualmie, a small city nestled into the base of the Cascade Mountains.
Snoqualmie’s main claim to fame is Snoqualmie Falls, a massive 269-foot waterfall that plunges down into the Snoqualmie River at a powerful speed. Depending on the time of year you visit, the spray can be so prevalent that you’ll feel it on the viewing platform located high-up in front of the waterfall (it’s generally a thicker mist in the winter due to the plethora of rain the Seattle area gets). Miles upon miles of thick trees spread out from the waterfall and river, and to the left of the falls is rustic Salish Lodge, adding some quaintness into the majestic feel of Snoqualmie Falls and its surroundings.
Those who want a closer look at the base of Snoqualmie Falls can do the one-mile roundtrip hike down the mountainside to another viewing area. The hike goes along a pretty wooded trail and also by the water plant where you get a good look at the tubes and buildings that carry the energy made by the waterfall out to the surrounding area. Snoqualmie Falls isn’t just beautiful, it’s also useful to the Pacific Northwest.
After your hike, read more about the waterfall and how it harnesses energy on the information boards by the main viewing platform or head to the onsite gift shop where you can get a coffee from the café before taking in more of the panoramic nature views.
Dunn’s River Falls
If you want to head somewhere more exotic to see waterfalls, the Caribbean is a good place to start. One of the most popular and must-see waterfalls in the Caribbean is Dunn’s River Falls, located near Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Compared to Snoqualmie Falls, Dunn’s River Falls is a bit tamer and slower, but still has its own charm.
Dunn’s River Falls cascades down a series of natural platforms for over 600 feet, so it looks like multiple smaller waterfalls all mixed in together. What’s especially fun about visiting Dunn’s River Falls is that you can walk around the falls and splash about in the little pools that form at the base of each waterfall.
An exciting way to visit Ocho Rios is via a Caribbean cruise and once there it’s easy to get to Dunn’s River Falls on a shore excursion. Celebrity Cruises has a variety of fun ways to do that depending on your interests.
There’s the Aerial Explorer and Dunn’s River Falls shore excursion that involves trekking to the falls followed by a chairlift ride that takes you 700 feet up for a bird’s eye view of the tropical forest beneath you.
Those who like some relaxation after hiking will enjoy the Bamboo Beach Club VIP and Dunns River Falls shore excursion which takes you on a guided walk to Dunn’s River Falls then transports you to the blissful Bamboo Beach Club where you can relax on a comfortable lounge chair and drink a cocktail on an exclusive area of the beach, or rent water sports equipment to take out on the water.
For travelers who want to a glimpse into history while visiting a destination, the Brimmer Hall Plantation and Dunn’s River Falls excursion is a good option since it pairs a visit to an 18th century plantation with Dunn’s River Falls plus a buffet lunch at a local hotel.
Instead of taking a bus to the start of the trail, cruise via a luxurious catamaran to Dunn’s River Falls on the Champagne Catamaran Magical Escape and Dunn’s River Falls shore excursion where you’ll hike to the waterfall and then return to the catamaran for more sailing around the sea. While on the catamaran, you’ll have mimosas, coffee, fresh fruit juice, and delicious snacks.
Which waterfall would you most like to see and hike around: Snoqualmie Falls or Dunn’s River Falls?