Travel the Whitepass Byway to see Washington’s popular volcano country. The western entrance to the byway is at I-5 and Route 12, about an hour and a half south of Seattle. Travel Route 12 east to Yakima, the gateway to Washington wine country.
First, take the Windy Ridge Route south to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens leveled 200 heavily forested square miles. Today, view how nature is reclaiming this blast zone with wildlife, budding forests and colorful wildflowers.
Next, take the Mount Rainer Loop and visit Mount Rainier National Park. Snowcapped Mount Rainier is the perfect backdrop for a day of hiking through flowering meadows and valleys. Millions visit this park each year.
For a view of Mount Adams, take the High Lakes Loop through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Mount Adams is the most remote and rugged of these three popular volcanoes. There is no visitors center and there are no paved roads. This is Washington state backcountry.
There are a number of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to stop along this 124 mile route. Stops include the Swofford Pond and the Woods Creek Watchable Wildlife area.
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