Washington October 01, 2021
Everyone Should Take This Exhilarating Adventure To Some Of Washington’s Best Hidden Gems
When it comes to the best places in the country to go on a road trip, it’s tough to top the Pacific Northwest. Washington alone has 25 scenic byways, each one seemingly more beautiful than the last. The next time you need a change of scenery, look no further than the Chinook Scenic Byway. In just one day, you can experience stunning views of Mt. Rainier, lush forests, rocky ridges, river canyons, alpine meadows, a world-class ski area, and more.
The Chinook Scenic Byway follows State Route 410 from Enumclaw to the Naches Valley and it seems to get more beautiful with every mile. Fill your gas tank, stock your car with snacks, and prepare for a thrilling all-day adventure – the route may only be 107 miles long, but you’ll have plenty of places to stop and explore along the way!
View the route on
Google Maps here.
While you can start your journey from either direction, most people prefer to kick things off in Enumclaw. As you cruise along the highway, make sure you stop at every viewpoint you can to take it all in.
Since the road can be winding and the area is notorious for snow, this is a road trip you'll want to take from late spring until mid-fall. Chinook Pass is often inaccessible at times in the winter — no one wants to risk getting stuck.
On this route, you'll experience the true majesty of Mt. Rainier.
Tipsoo Lake, Washington 98022, USA
We suggest stopping near Tipsoo Lake to enjoy the views of our most famous national park. On a clear day, our favorite expression is "The mountain is out!"
As beautiful as the scenic byway is, it's always fun to engage in a little off-roading adventure.
There are plenty of opportunities to hop back in your Nissan Pathfinder and go off the main roads for some additional fun. We love the nearby Hyak-Lake Easton loop, a 38-mile gravel road near I-90. Washington is a beautiful state, and sometimes seeing it at its best involves going off the paved path for awhile.
Whatever route you decide to take, make sure to stop at Crystal Mountain Resort to stretch your legs.
Crystal Mountain, Washington 98022, USA
Crystal Mountain Resort is a year-round skiing destination and the scenic gondola rides offer some of the best views of Mt. Rainier on the planet.
Take the gondola all the way to the top. Trust us.
Summit House Restaurant, 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd, Enumclaw, WA 98022, USA
Not only will you be treated to sweeping views of the mountain and the majestic Cascade range, you can have lunch at the Summit House, Washington's highest elevation restaurant. Just make sure to dress warmly, even in the summertime — it's chilly at the top! Gondola rides cost $39 for adults and $27 for children 5-12, and tickets can be purchased online in advance.
Next, continue your journey down the highway toward Naches...
...but don't forget to make a stop at Oak Creek Wildlife Area.
This wildlife refuge is located on US-12 just outside of the town of Naches. Spanning 67,100 acres, it's full of steep, rocky slopes and a series of ridges and small canyons.
While you can have a great visit simply enjoying the scenery, most people come to see the wildlife.
Oak Creek Wildlife Area, 16601 US-12, Naches, WA 98937, USA
The wildlife area has three units and depending on the time of year, you might be able to feed the elk. In fact, this is one of the best areas for elk viewing on the entire West Coast. You'll need a
to enjoy the area, so make sure to purchase that online first if you can.
The Chinook Scenic Byway takes you to the small town of Naches, just outside of Yakima, where you’ll find tons of additional things to explore.
Safe travels – and when you get the itch to hit the road again, check out
these additional scenic drives in Washington for more windshield views that will leave you breathless. Address: Chinook Scenic Byway, 1421 Cole St, Enumclaw, WA 98022, USA