Touring the Byway
92 Miles | 6 Days / 5 Nights (Optional 6) | Gateway City: Seattle
We recommend starting your journey in Seattle, a dynamic city where you can taste hundreds of local dishes at Pike Place Market and learn about the city’s history at the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, before staying at an historic hotel in the heart of the city.
On Day Two, travel to Enumclaw, a city surrounded by ancient forests and pristine mountain lakes. Learn of the area’s logging industry at the Enumclaw Public Library, marvel at the Thunder Dome Car Museum’s impressive collection of classic cars, and get acclimated to the outdoors at Pinnacle Peak Park and Mud Mountain Dam Park. Spend the night enjoying an authentic farm stay.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
Peeking out from Washington’s iconic landscape is Mt. Rainier, the highest point in the Cascade Range, is an active volcano, and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States. The mountain and its surrounding areas were designated a National Park in 1899, now allowing visitors to safely explore over 235,000 acres of valleys, waterfalls, subalpine wildflower meadows, and ancient forest.
First stop, the Sunrise Visitor Center at the White River entrance. With an elevation of 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point in the park that can be reached by vehicle. The Visitor Center features exhibits, interpretive programs, a picnic area, and access to subalpine lake hikes, as well as breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier and panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.
A short but steep 1-mile round trip hike that leads to a fire lookout on top of Suntop Mountain used during World War II in the U.S. Army Aircraft Warning System. At an elevation of 5,270 feet, on a clear day, the views extend for miles.
A highway pullout along the Chinook Scenic Byway offers a stunning view of the 250-foot Skookum Falls, named for a Chinook word meaning “evil spirit.”
An easy 4.2-mile roundtrip hike on a mostly flat trail follows the White River upstream to reach the base of Skookum Falls. The trail may be wet in the springtime; this is also a popular trail for mountain bikers and people with dogs.
In 1928, the Washington Chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs became concerned about the rapid pace of deforestation around the country and raised money to purchase the initial land for this park from a lumber company. The Federation Forest State Park now encompasses 574 acres of old-growth forest of Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce, and Western Red Cedar trees that provide excellent hiking, birdwatching, and fishing opportunities. There are nearly 12 miles of easy to moderate trails, picnic facilities, and an interpretive center surrounded by a native plant garden.
Though the area was inhabited by the Salish Peoples for thousands of years before the first European settlers, in 1851, Arthur A. Denny and his team named the city Seattle in in honor of Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Seattle city enjoyed a brief but robust logging industry before turning towards shipbuilding, later finding itself the commercial gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890’s. Nearly one hundred years later, technology became the driving force in the area with software, biotechnology, and Internet companies leading the way. Today, the city remains one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and both visitors and residents relish their time in a dynamic urban environment surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty.