Washington's Best Fall Drives

Ambles through arboretums in autumn are invigorating, but sometimes only a drive will do for seeing fall at its finest. Fortunately, Washington has plenty of places to catch the hues of the season.

Cascade Loop Scenic Highway
The granddaddy of all Washington leaf tours is this 440-mile trip that takes you from Everett to SR 20—the North Cascades Loop—through the Methow Valley, down to the Columbia River and Tumwater Canyon, and back again via US 2.

Colorful sights include the vibrant yellow larches of Ross Lake, the golden-grassy farmland of Winthrop and blazing yellow-red maple vines in Leavenworth. Complete the loop in two days, or take your time and experience funky towns like Mazama, scenic overlooks, a hike to 265-foot-high Wallace Falls near Gold Bar and the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth.

Enumclaw to Paradise
This 147-mile route runs east from Enumclaw along SR 410 through Cayuse Pass before looping back on Highways 706 and 7 near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park and features fiery maples and amazing mountain views. Add a side trip to Naches to expand your visual palette with ashes, larches and cottonwoods lighting your path.

Chuckanut Scenic Byway
The curvy, 21-mile coastal drive along Puget Sound’s rocky shore known as Chuckanut Drive runs north from Burlington to Bellingham and features yellow-and-red maples, crimson vine maples and views of the San Juan Islands.

View a complete list of Washington State's scenic byways.

—David Volk