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25 January . 2022

6 Best Winter Scenic Routes Near Tehaleh

Rain or shine or snow on your mind, local travel is always welcome.

Don’t mind a brush of snow?

You’d be surprised at who ends up at the trailheads in the winter. You check out the parking lot and think…really? That tiny beat up sedan made it all the way up here? All it takes is a bit of preparation and good timing and the winter is just about as accessible as any time of the year.

 Head up to Lake Chelan.

This route can give you the snow adventure you’re looking for and a break from the Sound.

This voyage will take you along the easterly side of the Cascades. Taking US-2 or I-90 will be your best bet if the weather is on your side. Clocking in at around 4-5 hours, this

  • Leavenworth can be a fantastic pitstop on your way up or back, especially if you’re hankering for an Alpen experience. Where the German cheer and beer seems to have been transported halfway across the world, this special town is sure to serve some charm your way.
  • Lake Chelan, a glorious spot in the summertime, does not disappoint in the wintertime either. Rent a cabin on the lake, take a snowshoe, snowmobile, or head to Echo Valley Ski & Tubing for an easygoing day of family fun.
  • Chelan boasts 300 days of sunshine as well, which makes for a better roll of the dice if you really want to experience the best of both worlds.

If your idea of a scenic drive includes just a bit of weekend ski traffic, then the journey is often worth it for the destination at the end. After this year’s MASSIVE snow dump there’s quite a bit to be desired in the Cascades this year.

Crystal Mountain

  • This 53-mile journey on WA-410 is a breeze if you’re leaving Tehaleh in the early morning, though the dense Seattle traffic on the weekends can make it a trek if you’re headed out midday. The early bird gets the worm and the freshly groomed trails will certainly be worth the jaunt.
  • On the way back make a stop at Naches Tavern. The mountain cabin vibe, pool tables, and casual atmosphere will make you feel like a local no matter how many times you fell on the slopes.

The Summit at Snoqualmie

  • Once you get on WA-18 you’re golden. Head up to the I-90 corridor to one of the more popular skiing spots. Again, the drive can get pretty hectic in bad weather and if you really want to enjoy the mountain to yourself, play hooky and go on a weekday.
  • Make a stop in North Bend to take in those Mount Si views and tasty grub around town.
  • Pro tip: check out The Summit’s parking lot and highway cameras to see how crowded the mountain will be.

Want to dodge the heavy crowds but still want to play in the snow? Check out their beginner’s guide to XC skiing.

Where the going is easy, head East.

If the winter slush is all too much, set your sights on the eastern side of the mountains. Here you’ll find the road less traveled.

 Wine Country in Walla Walla

  • Nothing beats the views along the Columbia River Gorge and if you can, take a stop in Hood River. The logging, agriculture, and shipping town has become a local hang for sports enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest.
  • With that comes the reputation for hip breweries and delicious sandwiches. Who knows, you might be right at home here and save that Walla Walla trip for another time.
  • Find a vacation rental or hotel in Walla Walla and you can treat yourself like you’re in Sonoma or Napa. The low-key winters make it feel like a hidden gem and it’ll give you a chance to catch some sunlight that you may have missed.

Enjoy the water views.

Stick to the lowlands and wander the stark green scenery along the water. Fingers crossed there aren’t any more big winter storms, but if so you’ll be in for a treat if you make it out to the Olympic coast.

Chuckanut Drive

  • Scoot past Seattle on I-5 and discover the beauty of the Puget Sound’s Chuckanut Drive. A serene, windy road alongside the Sound, you may find yourself racing the Amtrak Cascades train.
  • Bring your gravel or mountain bike and ride the Interurban Trail. Larrabee State Park is host to many a view. Indulge in one of the best seafood spots around at Taylor Shellfish Farms.
  • Make it a weekend trip and ferry out to the San Juan Islands. The area is quite literally your oyster.

The Olympic Coast

Winter at the beach? One of Washington’s best perks. Bring your dog along for this drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and visit the lively crashing waves along the Olympic Peninsula.

  • First-come-first-serve campsites at Kalaloch, Rialto, and Lake Ozette will be a reprieve as you’re traveling up the 101 highway.
  • Visit the gorgeous Hoh National Rain Forest, or if you have your dog, you can enjoy the drive up to the gate and turn around. Driving up against the Hoh River is stunning and you may catch a glimpse of some wildlife on the way.
  • Take advantage of the beach access and take your dog on a walk or run.

Call the scenic route home

Want to have the best view of Rainier every time you leave and return on your scenic drives? Get in touch with Tehaleh and we’ll set up a time for you to see the mountain in all its glory.


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