A good wool sweater is almost always in order here. So are binoculars, a change of shoes and pants that can be rolled up to escape the crashing waves as you walk along the beach.
The Cascade Loop Byway is a 440-mile love letter to Washington praising her natural beauty and charisma. From the waterfront city of Everett, head east over Stevens Pass, where alpine villages welcome and snowy spires beckon.
The Chinook Scenic Byway runs from the rolling fields of Enumclaw west of the Cascades, to the Naches Valley east of the range. Along the way, this two-lane pass wraps around the northeastern flank of iconic Mt. Rainier.
The Columbia River cut this dramatic gap between the Cascade Mountains on its way to the Pacific Ocean eons ago. Lewis and Clark explored this path centuries ago. Today, modern travelers are awestruck at the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway.
What’s a coulee? In this part of the country, it refers to the dry canyons gouged out by the Glacial Lake Missoula floods that roared through here several times up until around 13,000 years ago. This breathtaking landscape will leave you wondering if the rest of the world really exists.
This grand, 280-mile, pear-shaped route is perfect for drivers who love sweeping curves of roadway and prefer snow-dusted mountains and deep river gorges for company instead of traffic. It also provides a taste of international travel as it meanders from Washington State into British Columbia, Canada, then back down into the U.S. via Idaho, encircling the Selkirk Mountains.