The area near Eagle Falls off Highway 2 in Snohomish County is often packed with illegal parking as cool waters on a warm day brings hundreds of people a week to the area for swimming.
Getting there, though, is anything but relaxing.
"Troopers have seen just about everything,” said Anthony Reese of the Washington State Patrol. “There's cars parked perpendicular to the roadway, as well as double-parked horizontally to the roadway.”
With very few safe, legal places to park, people are lining the sides of Highway 2 and often darting through traffic moving with cars going more than 60 miles an hour.
They're even making dangerous U-turns right in the middle of the road.
WSDOT said parking on the side of the highway is supposed to be for emergencies only, not to lay in the sun.
The situation has gotten so bad that rescue workers couldn't even find a safe place to park when someone recently needed help on the Skykomish River.
“We're not able to park our emergency vehicles in those places for first responders,” said Reese. “We end up having to block a lane of travel. Then the roadway is shut down for a period of time causing large amounts of backup for people trying to get somewhere.”
For the past week, troopers have been giving out warnings to people in “no parking” zones, but drivers don’t seem to be getting the message.
Now, the State Patrol said it is preparing to move to the next level.
"We as Troopers are going to start towing vehicles if they are parked in no parking zones, as well as if they're parked partially in the roadway,” Reese said.
The cost to get a car out of impound is often more than $200.
Adding to the problem is the coronavirus closure of water parks and public pools.
With more warm weather ahead, the State Patrol wants people to find a different place to keep cool.
“This is a beautiful place,” says Reese, “but we can't have people running across the roadway or parking in no-parking zones creating hazards.”