Driving the International Selkirk Loop in Washington

The International Selkirk Loop—a 280-mile scenic byway that skirts rivers, lakes and the Selkirk Mountains—encompasses Highways 20 and 31 in Washington and winds through two states and British Columbia. Its sights run such a gamut of color and texture that it practically cries out for travelers to stop and discover hidden treasures along the way.

Nestled on the edge of Newport, the southernmost town on the loop, Upper and Lower Wolf Trails are both suitable for beginners and can guide you to scenic viewpoints over the north-flowing Pend Oreille River.

Continue up Highway 20 and visit the state-of-the-art Kalispel Cultural Exploration and Rest Area north of Cusick. The four acres of land feature a shelter built in the style of a traditional ski lodge, plus Kalispel Tribe cultural displays, a dog park and trails.

Drive north on Highway 31 for stunning views of the leaves as they make a kaleidoscope of amber, burnt orange and scarlet in early fall. During the summer, head onto Boundary Road to tour Boundary Dam and Gardner Cave, the third-longest limestone cave in Washington.

At Ione, take a 10-mile trip north along the Pend Oreille River to Metaline Falls, where you can see nature’s bounty at its best. There, you can enjoy a host of seasonal events: March’s bluegrass and folk music festival Spring Ding, Labor Day’s arts fair Affair on Main Street and December’s Deck the Falls winter festival.

Find more scenic byways in Washington State.

—Heather Larson

Photo: Metaline Falls  Credit: Flickr/turcottes78

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