8 July 2019
With a long rainy stay in Vancouver under our belt, we were rested, re-energized, and ready for the road and some sunshine. The day started slow. We let the worst of rush hour traffic pass and headed east to the border crossing at Sumas. The border took about 30 minutes but we avoided the volume at the I5 crossing and was rewarded with traveling south on relaxing and scenic WA Rt 9 to Sedro-Woolley. There we got lunch and fuel for the long haul on the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway.
The Cascade Loop Scenic Byway is a 440 mile loop northeast of Seattle. In the next few days we plan to drive about three-fourths of it, skipping the section clockwise from Everett to Burlington through the islands of Whidbey and Fidalgo. We started driving east on WA Route 20. The first section through the “rock and a hard place towns” of Concrete and Rockport to Marblemount was nice but I started to worry my research had failed me. When we entered the North Cascades National Park, my research was validated. We made countless stops through the park. If you only stop one place then Washington Pass Overlook Trail, a short trail with amazing views, is it.
On the eastern side of the national park is a small town with a ton of Wild West charm, Winthrop. It is a must stop and a nice place for a meal or a night’s rest along the scenic route.
We continued the scenic drive south on WA Route 20, 153 (Methow Valley Highway), and US Route 97 to Chelan, where we will stay to explore Lake Chelan.