Seattle Area Adventure: Cedar River Watershed

Do you know where your water comes from? After this weekend not only do I know exactly where that stuff coming out of the shower head, faucet, and garden hose originated, but I feel pretty good about it too! I’ve always been proud to drink my Seattle water right out of the tap, and now I know I can continue to feel confident about our drinking water.  Our watershed is one of only 6 (and possibly soon only 5) major water systems in the country that does not have a special filtration system.  It’s that clean.  The water is also pure.  I learned that the water cascading down the Cedar River Falls is so blue because the only thing coming down is water.  100% H2O.

Seattle is serious when it comes to water.

Why the sudden interest in water facts and cleanliness? Last weekend, we got to tour the Cedar River Watershed located about 30 miles east of the city near North Bend, Washington.  Due to extreme safety measures all in name of good, clean, healthy water, the only way to get a glimpse of this beautiful 90,638 acre area is through a formal tour.

Via the family tour, we traveled by bus past the secure gates, and into the old town of Cedar Falls.  The town of Cedar Falls is no longer a town, but a place for watershed employees.  Many of the original homes now house offices for the protectors of our watershed.  It was spooky {in a good way} to visit, like stepping back in time.  The mystery of it all was intriguing.  We saw where the tennis courts used to be, where the coveted heated swimming pool was located, noticed fixtures still intact.  The street lights, for example, are still there, and look similar to those you’d see in Pioneer Square (just South of downtown Seattle).  Unfortunately, since we didn’t get off the bus at this point, I couldn’t snap any photos.

Moving on from town, we were taken to the plant where some of Seattle gets it’s electricity (just 1%) through a hydroelectric power facility.  Meandering along through the trees we arrived at the highlight of the tour, the Cedar River Falls.  The flow varies depending on how much water is being released.  Within the watershed, 17% of the trees are old growth; mostly reserved to steep hillsides, and the tops of mountains where loggers couldn’t get easily.

After viewing the falls for a few minutes, it was back on the bus, and back to the Education Center.  A quick one hour tour perfect for little legs (and little attention spans).  There were several other families on the tour with us, and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves, kids and grown-ups alike.  The Education Center features several hands-on exhibits helping children (and adults) learn all about:  where their water comes from, the water cycle, and the plants and animals of the watershed (among other things).  Bergen is of course too young to really appreciate and learn from these great exhibits, but I look forward to bringing him her when he is a bit older.  The 5 year-olds checking out the exhibits with us had a blast; completely engaged.

My favorite part of the education center though is the sound garden.  Water trickles through tiny pipes and tubes that are hidden in the trees, and then drops like rain on various types of drums providing you with an amazing musical experience!  Have a look and a listen:

Info to Know:

  • Cedar River Watershed Information and Tours
    • The “Tap Water Tour” is for adults and kids 10 years old+
    • The “Family Waterfall Tour” is all ages. Kids 5 & under are free.
  • The Rattlesnake Ledge Recreation Area has a relatively “easy” 4 mile round trip hike.  The views provided once you get to the top make it to the ledge are worth the hard work of the hike. You can also walk around the lake, fish, swim, and picnic.

Come along with us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter!

Need some travel inspiration? Go check out what’s happening over at RWeThereYetMom?

It’s also Photo Friday at Delicious Baby!



4 thoughts on “Seattle Area Adventure: Cedar River Watershed

    • Absolutely! I couldn’t stop watching the sound garden so I just had to take a video! Yes definitely beautiful falls worth checking out. There was even a man there gathering info for his waterfall book!

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