The Cascade Loop National Scenic Byway is a 440-mile love letter to Washington State, praising her natural beauty and charisma. The route contains three of the state’s designated scenic byways—the Stevens Pass Greenway, North Cascades Highway and the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way.
From the waterfront cities of Mukilteo and Everett, head east over Stevens Pass where alpine villages welcome and snowy spires beckon. Drop from pine forests into fertile orchards and take in the pink haze of apple blossoms in the spring. Pick up luscious seasonal fruit from roadside stands, then take a dip in the Columbia River or Lake Chelan as the sun bakes high desert hills. Play cowboy in the Methow Valley.
Head back west past iconic Liberty Bell Mountain through the North Cascades National Park, and then descend into Skagit Valley with its acres of bulb fields and farmlands and abundant bird life. At last, cross over dramatic Deception Pass to Whidbey Island, where gentle hills and seaside towns offer a soft place to land. No matter if you take in the entire loop, or just visit portions of it, you will come to learn that the Cascade Loop is Washington State’s Ultimate Road Trip!
CLICK TO EXPLORE ON MAP to learn more about the things to see and do along this National Scenic Byway!
Mukilteo is the unofficial starting point of the Cascade Loop, as it sits on the mainland edge of the Puget Sound in southern Snohomish County, about 25 miles north of Seattle. Experience great attractions showcasing the aviation history of the region with the Boeing Future of Flight. You can even fly into Paine Field to begin your Cascade Loop adventure, and the ferry from Whidbey Island will bring you back to Mukilteo when you complete the Loop! Fresh seafood is always on the menu, along with outdoor recreation opportunities. Enjoy Japanese Gulch and Tails & Trails dog park with agility equipment to give you and Fido a chance to stretch your legs and work off the incredible meals.Read More
From a hike through the woods or calm walk by the waterfront to a great show at Everett’s wonderful local theatres, the beautiful and historic city of Everett has a lot to offer. Visitors can enjoy everything from the warm, sandy beaches of Jetty Island to a fascinating trip to Funko, maker of the famous Funko Pop! figures. In the summer months, catch some minor league baseball with the Everett Aquasox, affiliate of the Seattle Mariners or attend an exciting Everett Silvertips hockey game in the fall and winter months. This is just a sampling of what Everett has to offer visitors and locals alike.Read More
Home of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds that features events all year round and the Evergreen Speedway with NASCAR racing! Monroe can also boast of one of the largest fall Vaux Swift migrations in the world. Check out the Lewis Street Park and adjacent Al Borlin Park for a refreshing trail along the Skykomish River. Nearby, the City of Snohomish Historic District is known as the Antique Capital of the Pacific Northwest. Both cities have fabulous Farmers Markets in season. From Snohomish, you can travel on the 30-mile paved hiking and biking trail to the Skagit Valley. Twelve trailheads will get you headed on your way!Read More
Stop into the Sky Valley Visitor Center in Sultan for Discover and Northwest Forest passes, fishing and hunting licenses, and all the information you will need to explore the Sky Valley. From favorite fishing holes to best hikes of the season they have the most up-to-date information for you! Osprey Park sits along the Sultan River and offers 85 acres and over two miles of family-friendly forested trails (great for strollers and wheelchairs). Pink Salmon spawn by the thousands during odd years (2023 should be epic!) Join the Return of the Salmon celebration every September, and the two dog parks in town are perfect for stretching everyone’s legs!Read More
Nestled beneath towering Mount Index, this tiny town has big heart! The mining-era Bush HouseHotel has been refurbished and is once again the centerpiece of the community. Plan a hike to Heybrook Ridge Trail, a short, moderately steep hike that takes you through a rocky, moss-covered forest to an incredible view of nearby peaks. Just past Index, stop at the Espresso Chalet for a selfie with Bigfoot, and see a filming location for “Harry and the Hendersons” and the museum of Dr. Wrightwood (Don Ameche). Besides incredible coffee drinks and smoothies, you can get amazing views of Bridal Veil Falls!Read More
Founded as a railroad town in the heart of the Stevens Pass Greenway, you can still see trains roll by when you grab lunch at the Cascadia Café & Lounge. May through September visitors can ride the miniature train that takes riders on a trip back in time, and the museum offers exhibits of life at the turn of the 19th century. Skykomish is the nearest lodging option to Stevens Pass Ski Resort, and during the summer the ski runs become a downhill Mountain Bike Park.Read More
The tiny town of Plain, Washington is a short drive off the highway, and sits along the Wenatchee River which is fed from nearby Lake Wenatchee. Dirtyface Lookout and Peak is a favorite hike for those who like a challenge. In the winter, Plain Valley Ski Trails offer groomed skiing and snowshoe opportunities – Stop in the Plain Hardware Store for trail passes, an espresso, and for any other gear you may need, year round. Make family memories on the ziplines and take a horseback ride through the mountains. This area is a favorite for camping in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, or nearby state park.Read More
Known around the country as Washington's Bavarian Village, Leavenworth has amazing festivals in the spring and fall, and during the winter is alight with over half a million Christmas Lights! Nestled at the mouth of the Wenatchee River where it exits the Tumwater Canyon (plan to visit when the autumn leaves are changing!) and merges with the Icicle River – Leavenworth is a mecca for summer and winter recreation with river rafting, hiking, rock climbing, and snow sports. Enchantment Park offers a pump track, skate park, wooded trails along the river, and kids playground equipment. Looking for a great variety of dining options? You won’t be disappointed!Read More
Home of the world-famous confection Aplets and Cotlets Candy Kitchen, offering free tours and samples! The Pioneer Museum is comprised of log buildings furnished with antiques from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Spirit of America 9/11 Memorial is housed at Riverside Park, which also features a skate park, and is the exit location for river rafting on the Wenatchee River. With a long history of agriculture, this stretch of the Cascade Loop is awash in colors from spring through fall with fruit tree blossoms and wildflowers carpeting the hillsides, and then the fragrance of harvest in the fall.Read More
Wenatchee is located at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers and seated by the foothills and towering peaks of the North Cascades. Come see the “Apple Capital of the World” and its many orchards. The 11-mile Apple Capital Loop Trail is a paved route that takes you across the Columbia River and back again, Ohme Gardens is a lush garden oasis perched on a hill overlooking the valley, and Rocky Reach Dam’s Discovery Center is a newly renovated experience, where you can steer a paddleboat down the river! Visitors can fly into this region of the Cascade Loop at Pangborn Memorial Airport.Read More
Situated at the mouth of the Entiat River where it meets the Columbia River, Entiat is a quiet little town that makes a big noise in the outdoor recreation arena. With primitive overnight accommodations available at two Fire Towers high in the mountains and miles and miles of trails, plus a great RV campground right on the river, Entiat is a perfect basecamp for adventure! Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center showcases the effects of wildland fire with a trail through previously burned forest. Walk up to and underneath Silver Falls, when you explore the Entiat River Road. Listen for the roar of hydroplanes during the Entiat’s Vintage Raceboat Regatta!Read More
The Lake Chelan Valley offers four distinct seasons of recreation, including a ski hill and groomed ridge-top cross-country and snowshoe trails in winter, and amazing hiking and mountain bike trails the rest of the year. The long-time apple and grape producing area is now the 11th AVA in the state, and along with great wineries and tasting rooms has a charming shopping district and a century-old movie theater in the historic downtown. The 50-mile lake is a mecca for watercraft during the summer, and 5th generation run Campbell’s Resort with its Pub & Veranda has been the perfect place to wrap up a long day in the sun or snow since 1901!Read More
At the center of the wine scene at Lake Chelan, Manson boasts over 16 wineries all just minutes from downtown, where you can play on the lake all day, and then moor at the marina and enjoy the great restaurants and local wineries within walking distance. Several lakes offer great ice fishing in the winter, and you can catch your limit any time of year. Have you heard of geocaching? Manson has their own GeoQuest and you can win a prize if you find all the hidden caches. For over 100 years the community has celebrated it agriculture heritage on Mothers Day weekend with Manson Apple Blossom Festival.Read More
No roads go to Stehekin, but you can catch the Lady of the Lake passenger ferry from Chelan or Field’s Point and head to the end of Lake Chelan, where you will really be “off the grid” - there is no cell service here, but there are plenty of hiking trails, fishing holes, a 312-foot waterfall, and historic Buckner Orchard, where you can see the tools and techniques early settlers used to make a living in this valley. Stehekin Valley is the southern gateway to the North Cascades National Park where hundreds of miles of trails carry hikers and backpackers into four adjoining wilderness areas.Read More
Located at the confluence of the Columbia and Methow Rivers, Pateros was originally established around 1896 and was a major hub for sternwheel traffic that moved locally grown peaches, cherries and apples downriver to be shipped around the state. These days Pateros, and its sister city, Brewster, are known for salmon fishing on the Columbia River, and for a thousand miles of scenic trails, hundreds of water and wildlife access areas, and three million acres of public land.Read More
Located in the heart of the Methow Valley, nestled into the foothills of the North Cascades, Twisp is a dynamic center for art, culture and adventure, with a down-to-earth atmosphere and friendly attitude. Swing by Twisp’s downtown art gallery, play in its riverside park, relax at its boutique spa, or take in an evening of theater. Enjoy Italian fine dining, finger-licking BBQ, pizza, burgers, tacos and more – or stop in to enjoy international wine tastings, sip award-winning microbrews from an on-site taproom, or get energized with world-class, locally-brewed coffee.Read More
Welcome to Winthrop - a tiny old Western town with old-time boardwalks, fabulous boutiques, restaurants, luxurious to cozy overnight options, and every outdoor recreational pursuit you could ask for! The pristine Okanogan National Forestis our backyard and your playground. Winthrop is a year-round wonderland acclaimed for the largest network of cross-country ski trails in the Western Hemisphere. We are a year-round getaway destination you'll want to experience for yourself.Read More
18. Washington Pass Overlook
Quite possibly one of the most scenic rest areas in Washington - with iconic Liberty Bell Mountain towering over Highway 20 as you approach from east to west. Pull over at the overlook and follow a wheelchair accessible, paved trail to a lookout with incredible views of the mountains above and the valley below. Many hiking trails are in the area, including access to the famous Pacific Crest Trail. This roadway closes every winter for several months between Mazama and Diablo, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly. Mother Nature sets her own schedule on when conditions will mean time to close. The area can receive 700 inches of snow in a season!Read More
19. Diablo Lake Overlook
Enjoy views of glacial-fed Diablo Lake, located within the heart of the North Cascades. See rugged mountains that rise around the lake and the historic Diablo Dam in the distance. Learn about water, geology, glaciers, and the plants and animals that call this place home. In summer, the distinctive turquoise color of the lake is the result of suspended fine rock particles refracting sunlight. These rock particles, called glacial flour, enter the lake when rock from the surrounding mountains is eroded by ice and flows into the water through glacial streams. The color is most vibrant on sunny days in July, August, and September when seasonal glacial melt occurs.Read More
Once the supply center for the product it is named for, Concrete’s silos held the ingredients used to make the Ross and Diablo Dams in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Now it is a center for family fun at the base of the mountains, and Silo Park features a splash pad in summer, a skate park and playground. Stop in 5 B’s Bakery for great breakfast food before heading out fishing, hiking, or just enjoying the national forest. Come back to Annie’s Pizza for dinner! Nearby in Marblemount the Wilderness Information Center, (open seasonally) is the perfect place to see exhibits about wilderness and backcountry travel, or chat with the Rangers about conditions.Read More
History-rich Sedro-Woolley is named for two towns with logging and railroad origins that were combined in 1898. As the home of the North Cascades National Park headquarters office and the gateway to the North Cascades, Sedro-Woolley prides itself in providing great outdoor recreation as well as dining options for travelers through the region. Throughout the downtown you will see amazing wooden chainsaw carvings – as varied as the shops themselves. Riverfront Park and off-leash Bark Park are great opportunities for you and your pup to stretch your legs! The annual Loggerodeo event is the longest running Fourth of July celebration in the state.Read More
22. La Conner
On the banks of the Swinomish Channel, this artist village is relaxed and inviting. Great dining options overlooking the water or high on a bluff feature farm-fresh ingredients. Wander along the boardwalk, and enjoy birds and sea life, as well as impressive boats moored along the way. Check out the Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum with their amazing exhibits, and enjoy live music in Gilkey Square on Sundays during the summer. Pick up unique gifts in the quaint shops. Stay at the Channel Lodge and just relax on your balcony and watch harbor seals, river otters, kingfishers and bald eagles
In the shadow of Cap Sante headland, Anacortes is the perfect basecamp for exploring Fidalgo Island, the Skagit Valley, Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands. The quaint downtown features entertaining murals depicting historical figures from the region. Amazing, fresh seafood is on every menu! Walk the Tommy Thompson parkway along the water’s edge, or drive through scenic Washington Park and see views of the Puget Sound islands and beyond. In a previous life, Anacortes was a home to more than a dozen canneries, and was considered the “Salmon Canning Capital of the World.” The trash receptacles throughout downtown are decorated with colorful canning labels.Read More
24. Deception Pass Bridge & State Park
Deception Pass Bridge spans the gap between Whidbey Island and Fildalgo Island. The iconic views attract thousands of visitors each year. Several parking areas allow foot traffic on the bridge, but the sidewalk is very narrow, so plan accordingly. Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island is 4,134 acres, and offers docks for boat moorage, freshwater and saltwater fishing, crabbing, and swimming. Miles of hiking trails offer views of inland lakes and Puget Sound islands. Anacortes Kayak Tours offer sea-kayak trips through Deception Pass and beyond. The Maiden of Deception Pass story pole is located in the Rosario Beach area of the park, on Fidalgo Island.Read More
The state’s second-oldest community, Coupeville, sits on the edge of Penn Cove, and the mussels harvested here are world famous! Stroll down the dock to the wharf or boat in to the public marina. Downtown shops feature the work of local artists, and the restaurants offer the freshest seafood you can get! Nearby Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden is open all year, but spring and summer you will see the most variety of color. Fort Casey State Park and Admiralty Head Lighthouse are visitor favorites. Take the Langley Loop to nearby Langley By The Sea for more great dining options and view of Camano Island.Read More