Fall is such a lovely time of year in the Snoqualmie Valley with harvest, festivals, and pumpkins galore! But did you know there’s something else really special about this time of year? Salmon!
Salmon are a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest for a number of reasons. Native people in this region consider them part of their spiritual and cultural identity, and their presence tells us that our rivers and streams are healthy. At least 136 other species depend on salmon for their well-being, including our local endangered orcas, for which salmon make up 80% of their diet.
Each fall, native salmon make the impressive journey all the way from the ocean to their birthplaces in the streams and rivers that feed into Puget Sound. They complete this incredible feat thanks to their extremely strong sense of smell, which is about one million times stronger than ours. To put that in perspective, a salmon could smell one drop of scent in the equivalent of 10 Olympic-size swimming pools!
From August through November, it’s possible to see thousands of spawning salmon in the wild… if you know where to look! Check out the following locations in the Valley for the opportunity to see Silver (Coho), King (Chinook), Sockeye, Chum, and Steelhead and take part in their remarkable journey. If you decide to visit a self-guided site near you, please remember to recreate responsibly.
- Chinook Bend Natural Area via the public access trail
- Tolt MacDonald Park via the footbridge above the Snoqualmie River
- The Snoqualmie Valley Trail via the footbridge above the Tolt River
- Tokul Creek Bridge on SE Fish Hatchery Rd, near Snoqualmie
Looking for more information about salmon and how you can view them virtually or outside the Valley? Our partners at King County have developed the “Salmon SEEson” program, which helps people witness this amazing migration at locations all around the county. You can also learn more about how the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s restoration work helps salmon here.