Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Carnation, WA

  • Published 2022/09/20

Formerly known as Tolt, Carnation in King County, Washington, is a quiet agricultural city located just outside Seattle.

Sitting amid forests, rivers, and mountains, Carnation is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.

Carnation lies at the junction of Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

The world-famous Carnation Dairy, a dairy company established in Tolt in 1910, inspired the town to change its name to Carnation in 1917.

Many Native Americans and early settlers found this upsetting because Tolt had always been the region’s name, even before the European settlers arrived.

The name Tolt came from the Snoqualmie term “Tolthue,” which means river of fast waters.

Moreover, the area has used this name for more than 10,000 years.

However, the name-change dispute persisted, and in 1928 the town reverted to Tolt.

Then, the city returned to Carnation in 1951.

It officially became Carnation in the late 1990s.

Here are the best things to do in Carnation and the surrounding areas:

Enjoy a Day Off at the Tolt River – John MacDonald Park & Campground

Signage of Tolt River - John MacDonald Park & Campground

Ian Dewar Photography /

At the intersection of the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers in Carnation, in the lovely Snoqualmie Valley, sits the 575-acre Tolt River – John MacDonald Park and Campground.

A 500-foot-long swinging pedestrian bridge connects the park’s east and west sides, crossing the Snoqualmie River and providing spectacular views of the river and the Cascade mountains.

Visitors may observe chinook salmon in the river below while eagles and osprey fly overhead.

Barn at John MacDonald Park & Campground

Ian Dewar Photography /

The Tolt River – John MacDonald Park and Campground offer camping for RVs, tents, and two huge campsites, all with open fire pits, in addition to six teepees with river views.

There are also two spacious picnic shelters and a gorgeously renovated barn for corporate picnics, weddings, and other special occasions.

The Tolt River – John MacDonald Park and Campground enable you to take a cycling tour of nearby farms and forests in the valley as you keep heading east to find the 27-mile Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

Get Entertained at the Remlinger Farms’ Fun Park

Remlinger Farms’ Fun Park, a mini-theme park with 25 rides, was a family farm that began more than 50 years ago with a produce stand in the city of Carnation.

The kid-focused Remlinger Farms’ Fun Park offers a terrific bargain called “Remlinger Farm for the Full Day” that includes the park’s incredible rides, musical performances, and thrill rides for a day.

This park also features a roller coaster, carousel, barrel ride, giant slide, and whirlybird.

The fall season gets even better when you visit the Fun Park, thanks to additional attractions, such as Hay Rides and Corn Maze.

You can have an up-close encounter with the farm animals, such as alpacas, horses, donkeys, and bunnies.

You can even ride a farm pony and stroll through the Farm Pony Trail for a fee.

Catch Rainbow Trout at Langlois Lake

Langlois Lake is an excellent spot for catching rainbow trout and largemouth Bass.

The lake opens for fishing all year round, stocked with hatchery-raised rainbow trout from mid-to-late spring.

Only ten lakes in King County undergo a seasonal fishing ban for maintenance, and Langlois Lake is one of them.

Trout harvest rates in Langlois Lake during the spring are highest as the season begins and decrease as people catch fish.

Likewise, trout seek out colder shelter in warmer water areas.

Anglers frequently disregard fall as a prime fishing season, but the cooler weather makes fish that have matured during the summer more active around the lake.

You can go kayaking or enjoy the stunning scenery when you get tired of fishing.

Hike the Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Snoqualmie Valley Trail on a foggy morning

Ian Dewar Photography /

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail passes through some of the most picturesque and rural areas, including the city of Carnation.

The trailhead is in Duvall’s Park, and Ride, and the trail continues to the Stillwater Natural Area.

Once you pass through Stillwater Natural Area, continue walking until you reach the city of Carnation and walk parallel to the Fall City/Carnation Road until you reach the confluence of Tolt River – John MacDonald Park & Campground.

Continue your trek until you reach Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend.

Pond at Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Ian Dewar Photography /

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail passes beneath Interstate 90 and over the south fork of the Snoqualmie River not far from the Tanner trailhead, where you can gaze at the crystal clear stream and stunning river.

Once at Rattlesnake Lake, take the shoreline route to the Watershed Nature Center, where you can rest for a while.

You’ll find wonderful outdoor spaces, learning material, and a stunning water drum garden where water jets stream upon various drums to create a beautiful rhythmic sound.

Scenic view of Snoqualmie Valley Trail

knelson20 /

Experience the Olden Times at the Camlann Medieval Village

The Camlann Medieval Village is a living history museum that recreates a 14th-century English village.

You can walk through the village and discover the village life, to know how it feels to live during the 1300s with medieval villagers roaming around in costumes.

There are also craftspeople demonstrating the trades and skills of the time, such as woodworking, blacksmithing, baking, and more.

You can also visit the Scribes Shoppe or Cider Mille and get a souvenir.

If you get hungry, you can grab a bite at the Bors Hede Inn.

Bors Hede Inn is a dinner theater restaurant open all year long, where they prepare food using actual medieval cookbook recipes, and in-character interpreters serve the meal.

The Camlann Medieval Village opens every weekend from May through September.

Visit the Historic Carnation Farms

Distant view of Carnation Farms

Ian Dewar Photography /

Carnation Farms is a working farm and nonprofit educational center that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about sustainable farming practices and history.

The farm features a variety of crops, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and grains, all of which thrive using sustainable farming practices.

Carnation Farms also offers a variety of educational programs for all ages, including farm tours, cooking classes, and gardening workshops.

Carnation Farms has produced hay and haylage for nearby domesticated animals since the 1900s, with an average of three or more harvests per year.

You can find awe-inspiring backdrops for weddings and celebrations at Carnation Farms’ stunning 818-acre historic farm.

Carnation Farms provides the best fusion of rustic splendor and nearby practicality for weddings, corporate retreats, and other events.

Check out the Stadium with its historic wooden beams, heritage rose garden, and stunning certified organic farm.

Tour the Orenda Winery

Orenda Winery has earned renown for its rich, delicate, and versatile tastes evocative of a traditional style rarely encountered in Washington wines.

Orenda Winery’s wines use high-altitude fruit matured for two years in small French oak barrels.

Feast your eyes on the picturesque landscape while sipping some of Washington’s most exquisite wines.

Orenda Winery is especially famous for its Riesling wine, which has garnered critical acclaim from local and international publications.

At the 2019 Northwest Wine Invitational, Orenda Winery won “Best Red in the show” for their first retail vintage wine.

The winery has also received other awards, such as Double-Gold and Platinum awards from Seattle Wine Awards, Wine Press Northwest, and other highly-regarded wine competitions.

Their tasting room opens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and you can choose their indoor or outdoor seating.

Buy Fresh Produce at Carnation Farmers Market

The Carnation Farmers Market is where you can buy the freshest and healthiest local produce while supporting the farmers in the community.

The market opens every Sunday from June to August in downtown Carnation at Tolt Commons Lawn and Community Shelter.

The market features live music and a kids’ activity area to keep the little ones entertained.

You can find fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, artisan loaves of bread, pastries, ice cream made from scratch, Washington-made wines, and more.

Carnation Farmers Market is more than just a place to shop for groceries.

It’s a community gathering place for people to relax, enjoy the fresh air, and socialize with friends.

Hike the Chinook Bend Natural Area

Signage of Chinook Bend Natural Area

Ian Dewar Photography /

On Carnation Farm Road, two miles north of the City of Carnation, you can explore the Chinook Bend Natural Area.

The Snoqualmie River borders three sides of the 59-acre Chinook Bend Natural Area.

It also sits inside the Snoqualmie River’s 100-year floodplain.

The erstwhile grazing land, marshes, and mature evergreen rainforest of the Chinook Bend Natural Area provide a rich home for various wildlife and aquatic species.

Salmon also usually breed at the area.

Around 20% of the Chinook salmon in the Natural Area comprise those returning to the Snoqualmie River Watershed.

Chinook Bend Natural Area is a good place for hiking to watch birds and other wildlife.

Signages and public art installations explain the relevance of this natural area, placed a few hundred feet behind the lavatory thanks to financing from 4Culture.

Get Up Close with the Alpacas at Cascade Rose Farm

Cascade Rose Farm is home to one of the largest herds of alpacas in the state of Washington.

You can tour the Cascade Rose Farm and learn all about the charming animal, from how they are shorn to what they are used for.

You’ll be allowed to feed the alpacas from the palm of your hand and take photos with them.

The alpacas at Cascade Rose Farm will provide you with a unique farm experience that you won’t soon forget.

Cascade Rose Farm is in the Snoqualmie Valley, just a short drive from Seattle.

Besides the alpacas, you’ll also meet Cascade Rose Farm’s guardian dogs and see them in action.

Appreciate the Natural Beauty of Griffin Creek Natural Area

The Griffin Creek Natural Area sits between Carnation and Fall Cities, spanning roughly 46 acres of forest reserve in quasi-parcels.

Griffin Creek Natural Area is home to some of the Snoqualmie River system’s most densely packed coho hatching concentrations.

Likewise, it offers essential habitat for various fish, including ling cod and trout.

Additionally, Griffin Creek Natural Area offers opportunities for exploratory study and minimal passive activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and picnicking in a natural setting.

There are many different scenic views and vistas to see while walking the Griffin Creek Natural Area that will make you appreciate the natural beauty of Washington State.

You can also frequently see blacktail deer and cottontail scat in the area.

Additionally, migrating bird species, including the winter wren, warbler, and woodpecker, have made the Natural Area their home.

Visit the Valley Memorial Park

Valley Memorial Park is a beautiful park in the heart of Carnation.

The Valley Men’s Club and Mr. David Entwistle developed the initial concept for Valley Memorial Park in 1945.

Construction of the park began in 1945 and ended in 1949.

A group from the American Legion and Men’s Club erected a World War II monument in the park in 1947, which remains there today.

Valley Memorial Park officially opened on Memorial Day 1949.

The 7.15-acre park also features a skateboard bowl, tennis courts, sheltered picnic areas, and off-leash dog areas.

The Valley Memorial Park’s land was once a portion of the Entwistle family’s Tolt River homestead.

From the late 1940s to 1982, King County administered and owned the Valley Memorial Park until they gave it to the City of Carnation.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Carnation is a beautiful place to visit, but you can also explore nearby areas for more fun.

Let the Snoqualmie Falls Enchant You

Scenic view of Snoqualmie Falls

Richard A McMillin /

The Snoqualmie Tribe has revered Snoqualmie Falls as holy because it is where they believe the creation began.

For the tribe, the Snoqualmie Falls offer the gifts of food, life, and healing, while the crashing 268-foot waterfall sends prayers up to the heavens.

The Snoqualmie Tribe heartily greets everyone who visits this holy site to experience its power in their unique fashion.

Hiking to Snoqualmie Falls is an easy round-trip hike for all ages and capabilities.

Water flowing from the Snoqualmie Falls

Richard A McMillin /

Drawing around 1.5 million tourists yearly, Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington State’s best-known majestic destinations.

The Falls region also has a hiking track, souvenir shop, eateries, and the Salish Lodge, in addition to the observation sites.

You can find the falls in Snoqualmie, Washington, 14 minutes from Carnation.

Snow covered Snoqualmie Falls

Nadia Yong /

Take a Drive through the Snoqualmie Valley

The breathtakingly gorgeous Snoqualmie Valley is home to farms, senior communities, verdant rainforests, and steep mountains.

Start your day in the vibrant, artistically inclined village of Downtown Duvall, where you may enjoy a cup of coffee before turning westward to the Woodinville-Duvall road.

Aerial view of Snoqualmie Valley

Cascade Creatives /

Travel across the Snoqualmie River, through the countryside, and then turn left onto the West Snoqualmie Valley Road to admire the lush, green forests all around you.

When you’ve had your fill, keep traveling southward on West Snoqualmie Valley Road by turning left onto NE 80th Street.

Then, take another left into Ames Lake-Carnation Rd NE; these two turns will take you to the famed Carnation Farms.

Scenic view of Snoqualmie Valley

Mel Walkup /

For two miles, proceed on Carnation Farm Road until you reach Highway 203.

Turn right to enter the heart of Carnation, locate a parking space, and take a break to explore this delightful rural town.

Take a stroll through Downtown Carnation to browse the specialty stores.

You can find the Snoqualmie Valley in Snoqualmie, 19 minutes from downtown Carnation.

Explore the Beauty of Soaring Eagle Regional Park

About 22 minutes from Carnation, using the Carnation Farm Road, you’ll arrive at the Soaring Eagle Regional Park.

Around 600 acres of forested areas, ponds, and wildlife habitats comprise Soaring Eagle Regional Park, making it a perfect place to explore nature.

On the west side of Snoqualmie River Valley, near the border of the Sammamish Plateau, Soaring Eagle Regional Park is perched above Patterson Creek, offering stunning views of the valley below.

The park has more than 12 hiking trails, perfect for a nature hike or a stroll.

You can also go horseback riding on the designated horse trails or go mountain biking on the single-track trails.

Spacious and level, the Pipeline Trail runs through the park; it’s not unusual to see families enjoying the trail with carriages for young children.

Trail running events are also popular in Soaring Eagle Regional Park.

Final Thoughts

Carnation is a special place because of its natural beauty and its history.

The city offers the best things to do for visitors to enjoy, with each of these areas providing something unique that makes Carnation a memorable place to visit.

You can travel to a dense forest and alpine ranges in addition to Main Streets, fields, heritage landmarks, and gorgeous landscapes.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Carnation, Washington!

© All rights reserved.