‘Easy to Reach, Hard to Leave’ North Bend: things locals want visitors to remember this summer

[Article by contributing writer, Melissa Grant]

North Bend is one of the most beautiful towns in all of Washington state. For seven months of the year our locals enjoy a pretty quiet lifestyle. Because we are on the windward slope of the cascade mountains, we have a lot of rain, sometimes 20 to 25 days a month in December and January. We move around town with relative ease until spring hits…

And then it gets different…very different.

If you go on the Washington Trails Association website and do a search for North Bend, you come up with 2340 search results for the area. We are blessed with an abundance of great hiking trails (and waterways) that understandably folks want to visit. We LOVE to share our little slice of heaven, but locals have a few issues with some questionable behavior from folks that we’d like to point out and possibly deter early this season.

Pathway Propriety

There are many hikes in the area – Mt. Si, Little Si, Mt. Teneriffe, Twin Falls, Rattlesnake Ledge – that all have trailheads right by where people live. Please don’t park illegally on the road, block our driveways or use them as a turnaround when you are looking for a parking spot. Gravel drives can be expensive and time consuming to maintain and having hundreds of people turn around every weekend can sure take its toll. As John W. puts it:

They have them (no parking signs) on one side, and I don’t mind the people that want to see the awesome places we have in our backyard…..But a little respect would be nice. My dog shouldn’t have to get used to 30 strange cars pull into her driveway as she waits for one she knows.”

Please get a parking pass and park in the appropriate spot or find another hike in the area if no spot is available.

Townie Trashing

We get it. Sometimes that hike was just too tempting and you just had to go, so you parked in a spot you shouldn’t have. Maybe you didn’t see the sign. Maybe you were in a rush but it happens. Our local tow truck drivers aren’t vultures waiting to swoop in and steal your car. They are called by the police to come. They are our friends and neighbors and when you trash them on social media, we see it  – which doesn’t make us more likely to cut a poorly parked car slack in the future. Says Clarks East Towing:

KCSO calls us to tow them, but when they come to pick up their cars they are so mad and hostile with us. They think we park and wait to tow them. Not the case…. EVER! KCSO calls us to tow, we are just doing what is requested.”

They went on to tell us that parking enforcement is regulated by the King County Sheriff’s Office – NOT by any tow company – for all trail heads in the area. And if your car gets broken into while you’re on that hike, don’t blame us. We’re only 30 miles from Seattle and are in no way backward criminals waiting to prey on the city folk.

Waterway Wishes

North Bend also boasts some great areas to innertube and kayak. One of the more popular places to put in and take out kayaks is the 436th Ave. SE bridge which is situated in the middle of several residential neighborhoods. Says Teresa T:

“What I hate is they get out there and I have more than once seen them standing naked on the side of the road changing out of their wet suits… and on a busy street that is uncalled for.”

We’re all for body positivity and I know it feels like the wilderness out here, but we can see you. Put your clothes back on. I live on the river and more than once I’ve looked down to the banks on a sunny day and witnessed folks picnicking in my backyard. If you can see a house, it’s likely you are on their property. I don’t even mind that as long as you leave no trace, but please, whatever you do…don’t poop in my yard. Yes, that has happened, my dog found it. Just no.

Retail Regulations

Locals hike too so we know if can be hungry/thirsty work! Sometimes you really need a bite to eat or a bottle of water after a long hike. There are two things that would help us out when we’re just trying to get groceries and go home on a hot July afternoon. First, don’t drive 5 mph in the services loop while you discuss all the fast food choices. That area is crowded enough. Perhaps park to debate Whopper vs. Big Mac? Second, if you need water for your party of six hikers, perhaps pool your money instead of going through the line six times? It would really help speed things up in the check stand.

Critter Conscientiousness

We know it FEELS like the wilderness when you’re out on the trails, but you are still bound by leash laws while on most of our local trails. The exception to that rule is Rattlesnake Lake where you MUST have voice control of your dog if they aren’t on a leash. Voice control is defined as:  “Heels when told; stays; refrains from barking; is restrained from approaching any other animal or person.”

Did you know that some studies show that up to 50% of bear attacks on humans involved off leash dogs? Even if you can call your dog back to you, if that dog scared up a bear you may also be calling a bear. Admittedly, black bear attacks are very rare, but loose dogs still chase wildlife, poop without their owner’s knowledge, upset people and dogs who are afraid and potentially fall or get lost. We welcome you and Fido, but keep your dog on a leash. It’s for everyone’s protection.

Elk Etiquette

The Snoqualmie Valley elk herd is one of the most popular tourist draws in the area. It really is something to see. Frequently there are many lounging in the area of Meadowbrook Farm along highway 202 between North Bend and Snoqualmie. That stretch of highway has a speed limit of 50 mph with little to no shoulder and at night, no light. PLEASE, no matter what the time of day or how cool you think the herd is, DO NOT stop along the road to take a look. It isn’t safe for you, your fellow drivers or the elk. There are areas to park and view the elk along Boalch Ave SE. Take the time to find an appropriate viewing spot.

Wayward Wazers

I think most of us in town would agree this is a BIG one. We’d like to tell you that we are a town – NOT a short cut. If you have a reason to come visit us-Welcome! If it’s Friday and you’re trying to get over the pass and Waze is telling you that you can shave time off your route by coming through town, please don’t. Last summer was bad and this summer is gearing up to be worse with construction on I-90 between Issaquah and North Bend. Some folks reported it taking them an hour just to pick their kids up at school. Trust us when we say you won’t save any time. Just stay on the freeway and it will break up soon.

Route Ready

When you come to hike some of the higher or more challenging peaks in the area, please be prepared. Make sure you research the trail so you have the proper attire and equipment to get up and down safely. Note: there is frequently NO cell reception and if you get in trouble, you may find it difficult to contact someone to help you. Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back. Our local social media pages are full of speculation and fear every time we hear a siren or a helicopter. Our cliffs are high and sometimes slippery. Our waterways are cold and rough and sometimes our wildlife is very wild. We don’t want to see you hurt – or worse – killed while enjoying the area.

It’s shaping up to be a fun gorgeous season out here and we look forward to hiking, biking, swimming and kayaking with everyone!  We love sharing our corner of the state with folks from all over the world.

See you outside!


Cars parked near Rattlesnake Lake/Ridge hiking area on 5/26/18. PC: Melissa Grant


Twin Falls hiking area where cars are regularly parked along the roadside. Taken 5/13/18 by Sherry Burley


Waze traffic map image of North Bend during an I-90 traffic backup, August 2017. PC: Ashley Wiedman.


  1. stu hallock says

    how about just don’t come here. we do t come to your town so idiots please stay out were tired of everyone we don’t need you here we don’t want you here

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For me, the worst is the elk watchers on 202. I’ve nearly hit several children darting across the road to follow their parents. Also, elk aren’t for petting. I see people getting far to close to these wild animals. Its a tragedy in the making.

  3. “Get off of my lawn.”

  4. What an obnoxious article. If you don’t like it then vote with your feet and leave our beautiful town. Without visitors the town will die. I live here and could not be more embarrassed by your old fashioned and exclusive viewpoint. WELCOME VISITORS!!!

    • Melissa grant says

      I said welcome numerous times in the article. Just asking for some common courtesy in exchange for that welcome 🙂

    • Zoë – Obnoxious article? Melissa was in no way dissuading people from visiting. She was simply stating that if you’re visiting, to please be courteous to the people who live here. Calm yourself.

    • I agree.

  5. Zoe- that’s just ridiculous. Any time someone just picnics and poops in your backyard, you’ll be the first to call the cops. I live here too and I find the article blunt and to the point. Nothing rude about it.
    How about people start following the basics of morality and civility both online in trolly remarks and offline in live real person behavior. While I love that people love our slice of nature out here, there is some common decency that needs to happen.

    What we don’t really know is whether these people are from out of the area or maybe they are locals too. Blocking access to someone’s home means you are also blocking any potential emergency services needed. Block a driveway or another vehicle and you deserve to be towed.
    I wouldn’t assume these offenders of common civility are outsiders. Don’t assume private property that has access to a trail is yours to use. I’ve sat on my front porch and watched strangers with large dogs traipse across my front lawn. One lady smiled and said hi as her dog peed on the lawn. She had no qualms about using my yard. I guess better the dog than the lady. I loudly said to one guy: Do you think you might ask the homeowner if you can use their lawn? He looked at me like I was nuts so I said: THIS is private property. There is trail access down the street. We put up a Private Property sign — people laughed but the traffic stopped that year. Turns out the guy lives on the golf course. Not positive, but fairly certain he’d take out a gun or call the cops if I hung out in his yard.
    People need to respect other people and their property.

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