Regional Guide

Driving - Southern Cascades

The 107-mile Mount Rainier Loop makes a wide circle about the peak, offering views of Rainier from all directions. The route passes through Gifford Pinchot and Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forests and Mount Rainier National Park.

Just south of Mount Rainier, you can take the White Pass Highway through Gifford Pinchot, from Packwood to Naches on U.S. Hwy. 12. A 50-mile route blessed by rugged mountain scenery, the highway cruises along Rimrock Lake and the Tieton River.

Get off the beaten path and explore more of the backwoods with the 70-mile Bethel Ridge Loop in Wenatchee National Forest. After cruising through rolling grasslands and low-elevation oak forests, the road ascends the 5,000-foot ridge, winding among cool pine and fir forests, beautiful meadows, and fields of alpine flowers.

Cruise along the White River on the Mather Memorial Parkway, where elk graze nearby and the snow-capped Mount Rainier rises in the south. The 75-mile route runs on State Hwy. 410 across through Mount Baker Snoqualmie.

Destroyed in Mount St. Helens's 1980 eruption, Spirit Lake Memorial Highway was rebuilt in 1992. Drive through the blast area and get a sense of the cataclysmic forces that swept over the land.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 13 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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