Some of the most spectacular highland scenery in the US can be found in the Northwest, particularly in the North Cascades portion of Washington State. Known as the “American Alps,”” these massive snow-capped mountains are surrounded by turquoise lakes and evergreen forests. There are more than 300 glaciers along its peaks – more than any other range in the U.S.
The best way to view all this natural beauty is via Washington State Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Scenic Highway. The road closes from November to May for winter, so it may be best to plan your trip around summer-time activities.
Along this literal scenic route, you’ll see organic farms, company towns from the 1920s, picnic spots, and opportunities to get out of the car for some outdoor adventures. Here are some of the best stops along the way:
Sedro-Woolley, the historic town
From the Interstate 5 Highway, go through the town of Sedro-Woolley to begin your drive. You can already see the verdant foothills of the North Cascades here.
Even before you set off, this town will already treat you to wondrous sights. Sedro-Woolley offers a glimpse into the rich history of northern Washington State. The historic downtown area features timeless brick buildings, old-fashioned light poles, murals, and unique carvings made with chainsaws.
Concrete, the town that cement built
Further along the Scenic Highway, you will reach Concrete, a town named after its signature cement industry. You won’t find any of its historic factories anymore, but several notable landmarks and structures like the Henry Thompson Bridge and the Concrete Herald Building remain.
Lake Shannon, for excellent kayaking and sightseeing
Don’t let the mountainous location mislead you. You can also enjoy water activities along the North Cascade Highway. A quick drive north of Concrete will bring you to Lake Shannon, where you can enjoy a refreshing stop for some kayaking. If you prefer staying on dry land, the gorgeous views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan will surely take your breath away.
Steelhead Park, for a relaxing picnic stop
When you are ready for lunch, stop over at the Howard Miller Steelhead Park is in Rockport for a picnic. The park is open for day use and full-service camping all year round. Site and cabin rates are reasonable, but you will need to make reservations as early as 10 months ahead of your arrival because of high demand from fellow outdoors enthusiasts.
North Cascades National Park, the main event
As you ascend into the mountains, Highway 20 will take you through the North Cascades National Park where you will find not only magnificent natural beauty, but exciting opportunities for exploration and adventure. Pristine hiking trails and campgrounds await, while boating docks are available for use on the Diablo, Gorge, and Ross lakes.
Winthrop, where the spirit of the Old West lives forever
As you descend out of the North Cascades, you will find your way to Winthrop, a town that proudly wears its Old West heritage to this day. From sightseeing Washington State’s oldest legal saloon, to having your fill of biking, camping, hiking, golf, or horseback riding adventures, there is always something exciting to do or try out.
Winthrop is a great place to visit, and an even better place to live. Explore the best Winthrop real estate for sale with help from Coldwell Banker Winthrop Realty. Contact our agents today at 509.996.2121 or info(at)cbwinthrop(dotted)com.