The Cascade Scenic Loop gives visitors a taste of the diversity of Washington state.
This 440 mile loop travels from the Puget Sound, over the Cascade Mountains, through forest and farmland and ends on Whidbey Island…just a short ferry ride back to Seattle.
This trip should be taken from late spring through early fall. Winter brings snow to the Cascades and seasonal road closures along the most northern route.
How many days should you set aside for this trip? You can cover the loop in 3 days, but allow more for small town strolls, mountain hikes or historic tours. There is plenty to see and do along the route.
Below is just a taste of what you will find along the way.
Small Town Washington
Along US Route 2 are several small towns set in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Snohomish, Skykomish, Monroe and Goldbar all offer a peak into rural Washington.
Climb through beautiful Stevens Pass and stop in Leavenworth. This charming Alpine inspired town has plenty of spots for shopping and dining. This is a favorite destination year around and a great home base for outdoor activities.
Stop in Winthrop in the beautiful Methow Valley. Enjoy a bit of the old West in Washington. Stroll the wooden sidewalks, drop into a local saloon or take advantage numerous hiking or biking trails.
After leaving the foothills of the Cascades, drive through the fertile farmlands of the Skagit Valley and stop in historic La Conner. This has been an artist’s enclave since the 60’s and offers beautiful arts and crafts by local artisans. Local chefs are proud to showcase products grown and harvested from the Skagit Valley.
Coupeville, on Whidbey Island is set on picturesque Penn Cove. This small town is known for fresh mussels, historic buildings and a charming Main Street. It is also easy to take the Washington State Ferry from the Keystone dock to Port Townsend. This is a great day trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
Langley is just a short drive from Coupeville. Located on the Saratoga Passage this is one of the best spots in WA for seasonal whale watching. Visit the Langley Whale Center (part of the Orca Network) to learn more.
Visit Boeing’s Future of Flight Museum in Everett, just a short 50 minute drive north of Seattle. This is the only public tour of a commercial jet assembly in North America. Here they assemble the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner.
Don’t miss Washington Pass Overlook located off WA SR 20 north of Winthrop and Lake Chelan. This paved trail offers expansive views of Liberty Bell Mountain. From here you can access a number of hiking trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a must stop!
Stop along WA SR 20 for a view of beautiful glacier fed Diablo Lake. Then take a Diablo Lake & Lunch Tour. Cruise the lake and learn about the history of the area and it’s association with Seattle City Light.
Stop for the views at popular Deception Pass on the way to Whidbey Island. Park and walk onto the bridge for breathtaking views of the water, then hike down to the beach for a picnic.
On Whidbey, stop by Greenbank Farm. This former farm is now home to several art galleries, a great cafe and some of the best cheese you will ever eat!. Buy picnic supplies here and then….
Visit Ebeys Landing State Park Heritage Site. Hike the bluff trail for spectacular views of the sound or stroll along the beach.
Take a Ferry
When in Washington, don’t miss the chance to ride one of the Washington State Ferries. Board the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry at the southern tip of the island. This ferry accommodates cars as well as walk on passengers and is a popular commute for islanders heading to work in Everett and Seattle. Leave your car on the deck, head upstairs and enjoy the fresh air, cool breeze and views. This is your chance to experience Washington like a local.
Experience Washington, one inn at a time!