Top 20 Washington State Trips

Cedar River Watershed Education Center

Cedar River Watershed Education Center

Visit a free Education Center to see where Seattle gets most of its water from.

The Cedar River Watershed Education Center is 45 minutes east of Seattle, on the shores of beautiful Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend.

The Education Center has fascinating exhibits on the Cedar River Watershed, that generates 70% of Seattle's water supply.

This massive 90,638 acre water catchment area is owned by the City of Seattle, and stretches 40-miles west from Yakima Pass in the Cascade Range, to the township of Landsburg where the water is piped to Seattle.

The Cedar River Watershed Education Center is on the south shore of Rattlesnake Lake, at 17905 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend, WA 98045

Check hours (free admission).

5 best things about Cedar River Watershed (Education Center)

1. It's free to visit the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.

The Education Center is also popular for weddings and corporate events.

2. See interactive models of the huge Cedar River Watershed that supplies most of Seattle's water.

All development is banned inside the 90,638 acre Cedar River Watershed catchment area, owned by the City of Seattle.

Look closely at the model to see where the headwaters of Cedar River start at Yakima Pass, then travels 40-miles west to Landsburg where 1/3rd of the river's annual flow is piped to Seattle for drinking water.

Cedar River then continues past the western boundary of the watershed catchment area at Landsburg, and travels 13-mile miles northwest to empty out into Lake Washington in Seattle, where 2/3rds of its annual flow is used to maintain the lake's water level.

Cedar River travels through 14,000 acres of pristine old growth forest, and remote Findley Lake and Chester Morse Lake, before ending at Lake Washington. See if you can find these lakes on the model.

3. Use the telescope outside the Education Center to see hikers at Rattlesnake Ledge, 1,175 feet above the lake.

4. Visit the beautiful Rain Drum Court at the entrance of the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.

The Rain Drum Court is choreographed to drop rain from maple leaves onto drums, to sound a 21 drum symphony!

In dry seasons a computer program choreographs the water to drip from nozzles to sound the drums.

5. Explore the beautiful trail that runs along the south-eastern side of the lake, starting at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.

The trail runs for 3/4 mile along the south-eastern side of Rattlesnake Lake, from the Education Center to a popular beach and grassed area.

There are lots of interpretive boards along the trail, explaining the history of the area.

The trail crosses a small waterfall.

The trail then ends at the north-eastern end of the lake, where visitors hang out on the large lawned area.  Unfortunately the trail doesn't loop around the entire lake, because public access is banned on the north shore.

6. Take the 2-mile hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge for superb views of Mt Si, Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie Valley. 

Take the 2-mile trail up to Rattlesnake Ledge for incredible views.  This is one of the most popular hikes to do from Seattle, and can get super busy.  Rattlesnake Ledge is 1,175 feet above the lake.

Here's a better look at rocky Rattlesnake Ledge.

Know before you go

  • Address: 17905 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend, WA 98045.
  • Admission: free
  • Hours: here.

Fun things to do near Cedar River Watershed Educaton Center.

Nearby attractions include stunning Snoqualmie Falls, and Twin Falls at Olallie State Park.

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