August 23, 2013

Take a last-minute road trip on the Cascade Loop

Whether you’re looking for a last minute vacation in the weeks before the kids go back to school or just trying to find a great road trip close to home, Washington has a lot to offer. One route in particular offers a unique opportunity to sample the variety of Washington’s landscape, taking you from the high desert to the coast in a matter of hours.

The Cascade Loop has been called the best road trip vacation in our state and it is accessible from both Eastern and Western Washington. The route picks up outside of Wenatchee and Seattle, winding its way through multiple national forests, national and state parks, abundant farmland, and charming communities with hospitality to spare.

Here’s our suggested route for a 2 to 4 day trip. We’re pretty partial to these areas because they have been funded with LWCF and WWRP grants, but there is certainly a lot more to see along this route. The complete map can be found here.

Start in Wenatchee by picking up some locally-grown snacks at the Pybus Public Market and then make your way onto US-97 to Lake Chelan State Park where you can enjoy beaches set against the backdrop of evergreens.

On your way, you’ll pass the Wenatchee National Forest, which offers spectacular opportunities for hiking and camping.

Continuing north, Okanogan County offers access to fantastic trails like the Similkameen Connector, Susie Stephens Trail and others fit for hikers, casual strollers, and bikers. As you make your way back West, we recommend camping in the Okanogan National Forest.

On your way to Deception Pass State Park, stop in Mount Vernon for the Wednesday or Saturday farmers market. Here you’ll find abundant produce grown in the Skagit Valley, one of Washington’s most fertile agricultural areas.

At Deception Pass, you’ll find miles of saltwater shoreline, old growth forests, and opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Don’t forget your discover pass.

If you have some extra time, take the ferry to San Juan Island and visit Lime Kiln Point for whale watching. If not, continue down Whidbey Island and visit Double Bluff Beach.

If you’re ending your trip on the West side, take some time to enjoy downtown Seattle. But if you’re continuing East, Deception Falls and Iron Goat Trail make great last stops before the drive home.

Have you taken a road trip in Washington this summer? Email your photos to and we’ll share them on our Facebook page.

Photo by Adam Jones on flickr.