Seattle Summer Adventures: Tubing the Snoqualmie


When I was a kid growing up in Denver, I used to say I was boiling when it got too hot in the summer. I don’t often get to use my favorite summer adjective now that I live in Seattle where we average only 10 days above 85 degrees, but this year is different.

Seattle is boiling.

In a month we usually call “June Gloom,” this year it was hottest month in the 124 years Seattle has been keeping weather records. The fourth driest, too. By June 30, we’d already had eight days above 85 and 13 above 80. We haven’t had a day of serious rain since April. 

Arizonans will laugh, but most of us don’t have air conditioning in our homes.

We’ve been desperate for normally-reserved-for-August-kind-of-ways to cool off and we found it on the Snoqualmie River just a half hour east of Seattle. For years, locals have been tubing a four-mile stretch of river between the famous Snoqualmie Falls and the small town of Fall City. Word has gotten out.

My sister-in-law took this picture of the Snoqualmie Falls a few weeks before we went floating. The launch point for tubers is less than a half mile from here -- downstream of course!
My sister-in-law took this picture of the Snoqualmie Falls a few weeks before we went floating. The launch point for tubers is less than a half mile from here — downstream of course!

Tubing here has become extremely popular, but it’s also gotten easier with the launch of a new business called Fall City Floating. They provide $5 shuttle rides from launch and exit points, tube rentals, $3 tube inflation (if you have your own), port-a-potties, a new trail from the river to the parking lot, and important trash/recycling facilities.

On busy weekends, it’s hard enough finding parking day for one car, let alone two so we gave their shuttle a try last Saturday. We found it crowded, but convenient. We arrived around 3 p.m. and found a spot in the giant Fall City Community Park lot.

The big blue dot is Fall City Community Park. Source:
Source: Please visit for a better map and extensive information.

The line to catch the shuttle was massive. Wondering if we should turn back, we reluctantly bought our tickets from an attendant who recommended playing in the river until the lines died down after 4 p.m. (when rentals are cut off). This was good advice and much appreciated. She even offered to text us when to come back!

There was a much shorter wait when we returned, with just enough time to inflate our personal tubes before loading them onto the shuttle trailer. A driver brought us five minutes up the river to a launch point on Fish Hatchery Road.

fall city floating van

sara and john

From there we unloaded our tubes and we were on our way.

snoqualmie float
A lazy hot summer day on the Snoqualmie River.

The river was warmer than usual for this time of year, and slower, too, because of our lack of rain and low mountain snow pack over the winter.

Our number one tip? Bring paddles or Frisbees to move yourself along. We didn’t and a trip that normally take two hours took nearly four. Not that we minded. A stuffy hot house was all that was waiting for us once we exited the river.

For all the information you need to plan your own float, visit Fall City Float or Float Snoqualmie. King County has also put together an important informational video, including safety tips.

Fall City Float is open Wednesday through Sunday,  9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The river is open everyday.


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