South Cascades Loop Drive Tour – Cascades, Columbia and Cabernet

Home to Southwest Washington’s breathtaking scenic drives, charming communities and amazing recreational opportunities.

 

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Enumclaw to Mount Rainier via the Chinook Scenic Byway

1. Skookum Falls and Snoquera Falls – Take the Skookum Flats trail off Huckleberry Creek Road. It is an easy 8-mile trail that leads to the picturesque falls and views of the Palisades rock formation. Winter temperatures may “freeze the falls” for another unique view. 

2. Crystal Mountain Ski Resort - Crystal Mountain Resort is Washington’s largest ski resort offering 11 lifts and the only 8-passenger Gondola in the State.  During the summer visitors come to Crystal Mountain for the views of Mt. Rainier, mountain-top dining and fun summer-time activities.

3. Mt. Rainier National Park – Sunrise Entrance - Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers. 

4. Lake Tipsoo and Chinook Pass Arch – the summit of Chinook Pass is marked with a massive log and stone pedestrian bridge overpass for Pacific Crest Trail hikers. Parking, nature trails, restrooms are located near a classic picturesque alpine lake with amazing views of Mt. Rainier and the South Cascades Mountain Range. 

5. American River/Naches River – The river system along the All-American Road and Nationally recognized Chinook Scenic Byway provide an abundance of water activity. Fly-fishing is especially popular as is rafting and water play. A large number of campgrounds and sno-parks offer headquarters for summer activities and gathering points for winter snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. 

Naches to WhitePassByway.com

1. Agricultural Hotspot – The fertile lands of the Yakima Valley have made our state famous for its world class fruits and veggies. Naches orchards grow a wide array of produce from apples and grapes to asparagus and squash. The fruit stands are brimming with farm fresh fruits and vegetables for your table. 

2. Wineries and Breweries - Naches Heights became the 12th AVA in Washington State in 2011. The ancient volcanic bedrock plateau has soil known as loess which is heavy in clay and helps the soil to retain water. The elevation combined with the annual rainfall, make perfect conditions for growing grapes. Hops from the Yakima and Cowiche Canyons and cascade mountain water supply the ingredients for some of the best beers in the region. 

3. Oak Creek Wildlife Area (Elk Feeding Station) - One of the best locations for watching elk in the entire United States, Oak Creek is truly a sight to behold. In winter, elk congregate at the Oak Creek feeding station in herds by the hundreds. Visitors see the elk up close as they jostle for position at the hay drop stations. Other wildlife viewing includes bighorn sheep, woodpeckers, raptors, and a variety of songbirds.

4. Tieton River, Dam and Rimrock Lake - A popular roadside view, see Tieton Dam, built in 1901 forming Rimrock Lake, a popular place for water play. he highest elevation large-lake along the byway, Rimrock Lake offers recreation, camping, and fantastic views of the surrounding foothills. Anglers enjoy time spent fishing for rainbow trout and kokanee

5. White Pass Ski Area/Pacific Crest Trail crossing - A major winter ski destination, White Pass also offers some hiking in the summer, and a pleasant stop along the roadway in a high mountain environment. The driest powder in the Washington Cascades. Stretching from Canada to Mexico, the Pacific Crest Trail, (PCT) trail runs along Washington's Cascade Mountains crossing over the summit of White pass before entering Mt. Rainier National Park

6. Access to Mt. Rainier National Park at Hwy 123 east of Packwood at the Stevens Canyon Entrance, The Stevens Canyon Entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park offers access to the popular Ohanapecosh Campground and Visitor Center. 

7. Mossyrock Dam and Riffe Lake - Formed by the Tacoma Power's Mossyrock Dam, the tallest dam in Washington State, Riffe Lake winds for over 20 miles through forested hillsides. 

8. Mayfield Dam and Lake - 13 mile-long Mayfield Lake is the setting for camping, fishing and a multitude of recreational opportunities, with multiple parks lining its shores. Two campgrounds, Ike Kinswa State Park and Mayfield Lake Park provide boat launches and play areas.

 

Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument to the Columbia River Gorge 

1.Gateway to Mount St. Helens - May 18th, 1980 forever changed the landscape of this once near-perfect volcanic cone. Spewing ash into the atmosphere that circled the globe, Mount St. Helens, remains the most dramatic example of active volcanic activity in the continental United States. Coldwater Lake and Coldwater Center - Coldwater Lake Recreation Area is located in the heart of the blast zone near the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater and Johnston Ridge Observatory. 

2.Cape Horn Trail to Cape Horn Falls - This rugged hike is bound to become a classic, if it isn’t already. The full trail loop provides fantastic views of the Columbia River Gorge, an intimate look at the Cape Horn Falls and a challenging workout as it climbs and descends the rocky slopes of Cape Horn. The Cape Horn trailhead is located at the Skamania County Transit Park & Ride 

3.Beacon Rock State Park - A dizzying mile-long switchback trail takes you up 848-foot Beacon Rock, but that’s not the only way to a tip-top experience. Rock climbing and hiking to waterfalls are the rage at this park. 

4.Bigfoot Discovery Trails - The Bigfoot Discovery Trails are a 12-mile pathway network that meanders through the picturesque Columbia Gorge community of North Bonneville and surrounding areas.  

5.Bonneville Lock and Dam - Inside the Visitor Orientation building and the adjacent fish-viewing building are exhibits that focus on the fundamentals of electricity and the importance of hydroelectric dams. 

6.Bridge of the Gods – A modern cantilevered bridge spans the Columbia River near where a nature stone bridge once stood. According to Native American mythology the resulting Cascade Rapids demonstrate the majesty and wrath of the Great Spirit.

 

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to Yakima Wine Country

1.Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum - Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum brings to life the human stories and natural history of one of our nation’s most compelling landscapes. The mission of the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum is to share the story of Skamania County and the Columbia River Gorge. 

2.Dog Mountain - A very popular trail, particularly from mid-April through early June, when the hills are filled with blooming wildflowers.  Hikers will also see impressive views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood and Mount Adams.  

3.White Salmon and Klickitat Wild and Scenic Rivers - The clear, blue waters and unique beauty draw visitors to the White Salmon River as well as the opportunity for an exciting ride! Continuous Class I, II, and III rapids with an occasional Class IV keep boaters on their toes.  Husum Falls is rated Class V and should always be portaged. 

4.Maryhill Region – A collection of attractions make the stop at Maryhill worthwhile just before heading north into Wine Country. Maryhill Museum of Art boasts some of the best exhibits and is out of the ordinary when it comes to the Columbia River Gorge. Speaking of out of the ordinary, the nearby replica of Stonehenge, built in 1918 as a memorial to WW1 Veterans is a picturesque and popular tourist stop overlooking the Columbia River. During the summer of 2018, stargazing programs are hosted here on weekends by the Goldendale Observatory. The Maryhill Winery has been producing award winning wines since 2001. 

5.American Hop Museum and Hop Fields - The only one of its kind in the entire country, this unique museum showcases the history of the hop industry, and highlights how important the Yakima Valley is to the craft beer world. The Yakima Valley grows 75% of our nation’s hops, and thousands of acres of hop fields are just outside Downtown Yakima in Moxee. 

6.Yakima Greenway - Featuring over 20 miles of paved pathway and connecting several Yakima communities, the Greenway is the perfect spot to get out and enjoy the outdoors. It borders two different rivers, three fishing ponds and numerous parks and recreational facilities.

7.Cowiche Canyon - With nearly 30 miles of trail stretching across two hilltops and a scenic canyon, getting outdoors is easy whether on mountain bikes or on foot. Sage and grasslands and plenty of sunshine make this a popular excursion.  

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