EXPLORE: Duvall, WA
As much fun as we have heading further North to explore cities outside of Snohomish County, I try to remember that King County has some small, local strong, cities as well. Yep, there is more to it than big cities like Seattle and Bellevue, all you have to do is know where to look. A good place to start is Highway 203 which spans from Monroe (via Lewis St) to Fall City.
In the in between, you will find the small cities of Duvall and Carnation, and of course Fall City belongs on our list of cities to explore too. Especially since it has this awesome place called Fall City Floating that lets you ride down the Snoqualamie River on inner tubes. Enough about that though, that is something for another article, a fun one. This time around, we spent two weekends exploring Duvall.
There’s not a lot to it and most of its businesses border the highway, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with local options. Well, eating and drinking ones anyway. It could use some more local retail shops, but it is still worth making a day trip to. I would just recommend catching something to eat, hitting the hike featured, then eating again.
n fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to recommend, and I’m going to give you all of the stops you should make, plus info about a few extra things in case you have extra time or hiking isn’t your thing.
Let’s get into it …
PICTURED ABOVE/BELOW: Grateful Bread
Eat + Drink Locally
Starting your day off at Grateful Bread is an absolute must. I got the impression that it is a new business in town, and they are working out some kinks, but topping in is so worth it. Their baked goodies are delicious, and they make all of the bread they sell and use for their sandwiches, so you know that is good too. Another reason I love this place, it introduced me to something it calls the Honey Nut Latte, which features honey (obviously) and hazelnut. I have never considered putting honey in coffee before, and I put that stuff in and on everything.
Another option for coffee is C.C. Espresso & Ice Creamery, home to what they dub as the “Best Mocha Milkshake in the PNW.” It is where to go to get ice cream on a hot day. Be prepared to wait in line though, because everyone knows it!
PICTURED ABOVE: Duvall Tavern
Fast forward to lunch and dinner time and there are quite few options to choose from. If casual is more your thing, than the Duvall Tavern is the spot for you. They offer traditional pub fare and an array of PNW made beers to choose from. The food and fries were good, and if the number of people dining there each time we passed is any indication, everything else is too.
On the other hand, if farm to table, and a bit more of a fine dining vibe is your thing, then you should check out The Grange. Don’t worry if you take my advice on the hiking first thing, because we did and came in a bit muddy and sweaty. The food was absolutely amazing, and I love that they not only serve from scratch dishes, but ones with locally sourced ingredients.
I had the Skiyou Ranch (Sedro Woolley) Flatiron Steak, which was by far the best steak I have had to do date (P.S. We’ve recently had burgers with their meat as well at The Woolley Market in Sedro Woolley, both prepared in the shop and at home on the grill). Sorry Snohomish County restaurants, but it’s true. Our other pick was their pizza which is perfect for kids. These might not be our selections the next time around though, because there are new dishes on a weekly basis in accordance with what is in season and available.
Beyond these spots, Valley House Brewing is a great option for locally brewed beers and some lite bites. I sadly did not get to check this out as it was a 21 and over spot. The same went for the Duvall Distillery.
PICTURED ABOVE/BELOW: The Grange
When it comes to local retail shops, there was really only two options to choose from. It’s not a lot, but both are worth checking out. Rustic Rose was definitely my favorite. It offers a mix of home, clothing, and everything in between with quite a few options being locally made. We picked up a few little things including soap made by Blackberry Hill Farm of Carnation.
Two doors down you will find Country Collections which, as its name suggests, is a collection of vendors offering home decor items and gifts. I was kind of hoping that it would be more of an antique shop based on what was set up outside, but what we found was good too. The Kid was able to pick up a sketching gift set and I found more than my share of locally made products.
That included Stella Street Honey, in a maple variety, which is produced in Duvall, and all kinds of health and beauty products from Julia’s Good Medicine of Carnation.
Despite the low number of retail shops, I do love that the two we found both carried locally made products. Local supporting local is a huge thing and there needs to be more of it!
PICTURED ABOVE: Rustic Rose PICTURED BELOW: Country Collections
Cherry Creek Falls Trail (message us on FB or IG if you would like prints of any of the featured photos):
Waterfalls are one of my greatest motivators when it comes to picking what trails to hike. I’d pretty much go to any lengths to see one, don’t believe me, catch the Chasing Waterfalls feature on our website in which I detail just how many injuries I’ve gotten, and how many stupid things I’ve done, just to reach one.
Luckily no injuries or stupid things were involved in the hike to Cherry Creek Falls in Duvall. It is a pretty easy hike overall, with the only challenge being the 5+ miles required to get in and out (we tracked it with All Trails and had 2.8 miles to the falls). As always though, once we reached our goal, all thoughts how far we walked and how hard it was disappeared.
That doesn’t mean that the trail itself was not interesting though. Quite the opposite. There wasn’t a lot of flowers, other than random sightings of the cute little guys pictured, but there were old abandoned cars. Two of them to be exact. First a very old and damaged truck located off to the side of the dirt road at the start of the trail. It is self explanatory how it got there. The second car we ran into, was a much a different story, one I am stills scratching my head about even now.
You see, while the trail may start out following a road that could be driven by cars, it eventually converts into a normal width trail. It is on that narrower portion of the trail that we found the pictured car. Not only was it nowhere near the road portion, it was also basically surrounded by trees. How it got there is a fun little mystery you can get creative with and discuss as you make the final leg to the falls.
Once you emerge at the end of the trail, you are treated to a pair of waterfalls, both emerging from Cherry Creek. In Boulder River Falls fashion (but much smaller scale), they fund down a rock face that surrounds one side of an equally beautiful mini lake or pond perhaps. Whatever it is, it is shallow enough to walk around in and has one deeper portion directly in front of the falls that you can swim in if that is your thing.
If getting wet isn’t your thing, you can hang out on the sandy beach located across from the falls. It is a great place to sit and enjoy them, maybe even have a snack or some lunch. Best part, you can take your shoes off and let those tired feet of your breath and soak in the water a bit. I was glad for this considering I somehow managed to not have socks when it came time to change into my hiking boots. Not a mistake I will be making again in the future.
This is a pretty popular hike, so you will likely have to share. We did it on a Tuesday afternoon, and had about 5-6 other groups that we ran into while enjoying the falls. There was more than enough room for everyone though, and other than occasional swimmers, everyone is able to get unobstructed views of the falls. It is definitely a hike I would recommend if you love waterfalls or are just looking to explore a new area or city.
This trail is located on private property, so no passes required. Parking is along the street at the intersection of NE Cherry Valley Rd and Mountain View Rd NE, and the trail head is right at that intersection. To find this trail or get more info use Google or download the All Trails or WTA (Washington Trails As.) apps on your phone.