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How Accessible Is Accessible: Snoqualmie Falls Washington

Updated: 1 day ago

Disabled Photographer Project How Accessible Is Accessible Series

Founder Denise Vasquez Photographed by Randy Martinez

One of the most scenic waterfalls that I’ve visited to date is called Snoqualmie Falls, in Washington State. These falls are twice as high as Niagra Falls standing at 268 feet high with the width ranging from 50 to 150 feet, depending on water levels. Luckily, the falls were pretty full when we visited! The sounds coming from the falls as they're cascading down over the granite hills, was powerful yet mesmerizing.

As I was taking photos with both my cameras (I did long exposure with my 6DMarkii Canon Camera, with a 10-stop ND Filter, and my Promaster tripod, and I held my other Canon R5 mirrorless camera in my hands to have freedom to move around when photographing moments. Why do I have 2 cameras set up? I like to have each camera set up with a different lens, so when inspiration strikes, and I see something in the moment I’m experiencing, I’m ready to capture it. Over the years I’ve learned what happens when a special moment presents itself and I’m not prepared because I’m rushing to change a lens. So now I always carry two cameras with different lenses & I use my iPhone 15 pro as well, to take photos & make videos on the fly.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2024

Not only are these falls beautiful, there are informational signs throughout the park, and some of the locations around the falls are Accessible! The park is rated as being ADA accessible, but when it comes to rating trails, I feel as though many of the parks do not take into consideration the slopes and the stairs in some areas along the trails. Although the walkways are mostly paved, there are slopes that are a little steep whether you are on foot or using a wheelchair!

Watch video on TikTok to see my experience

There are two levels at the upper observation decks, but be mindful. Getting to the lower falls on foot from the upper observation deck was a little challenging for me. If you’re going down along the paved trail, there are areas were the slopes are steep, and eventually the paved trail turns to dirt & appears to be even steeper. I asked some hikers that were coming up from the dirt area about the slope, and they informed me that section of the trail to get to the lower falls, was “very very steep”.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2024

I decided to stop at the visitor center to inquire about other options to get to the lower observation deck, so I could photograph the bottom part of the falls. They informed me that there was a lower lot, but what they did not tell me was that the boardwalk that follows the river, leading to the lower falls requires doing a number of stairs! That is one of the many reasons I write blogs, take photos, and make videos to share information and what I’ve discovered from my personal experiences!

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2024

Snoqualmie Falls is open every day of the year from dusk til dawn, the falls offers a two acre park, with free viewing areas on both the upper & lower observation decks, benches, first come first serve picnic areas, restrooms, and parking. The upper parking lot is free for everyone, the lower level cost $7. If you have a placard, Accessible parking on the lower level is also free.

I started my project over six years ago while I was in a wheelchair, using rolling walker and from time to time I’m still using my walking sticks, because personally I’ve discovered while visiting the parks, that many places that are rated accessible or “Easy”, are usually not for me!

Rather than be discouraged, angry or frustrated, I’ve discovered over the years that sharing updated information not only helps me, other disabled or elderly people with limited mobility like me, it helps bring awareness to people working at the parks and on the trails.

How do I know, because many people at the parks have reached out to me over the years, have continued to consult me over the years, and have thanked me for what I’ve been doing over the years!

It takes a lot of time, money and energy for me to keep this project going, I have put my heART, soul and everything I have into it, and knowing that what I’ve been doing has been making a difference inspires me to keep it going.

Disabled Photographer Project How Accessible Is Accessible Series

Founder Denise Vasquez Photographed by Randy Martinez

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