Some of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. can be found in the State of Washington. Jagged, snow-covered peaks sliced by silver waterfalls and dotted with turquoise alpine lakes. Deep forests of gigantic, old-growth trees. Rugged, misty coastlines and charming seaside towns. Washington state has all of this and more. Find information on Washington’s scenic drives here.
Cascade Loop Scenic Byway
According to National Geographic, the Cascade Loop is one of America’s most spectacular scenic drives. From the ports of Puget Sound, the flowering fruit trees of Leavenworth, emerald green farmlands in the Methow and Skagit Valleys, to the miles upon miles of lush forest along the Stevens Pass Greenway and North Cascades National Park: this is the road trip of a lifetime!
Cape Flattery Tribal Scenic Byway
Cape Flattery, one of the most beautiful spots on the Makah Indian Reservation, is America’s northernmost point. It’s only 12 miles of highway, but it’s packed with treasures the whole way, including the Makah Cultural and Research Center.
Cascade Valley Heritage Corridor
This route was once a Native American footpath linking Puget Sound and Snoqualmie Pass. This scenic drive is brimming with historic towns, a stunning waterfall, and wine!
You’ll have spectacular views of Rainier all along this road, which traces the historic Naches Trail trading route between Enumclaw and Naches.
This is a winding, seaside road with gorgeous views and great hiking trails along the way. Some of the best oysters in the state can be found here.
Columbia River Gorge
The 80-mile long gorge is the result of 40 million years of geological history and features dramatic waterfalls, majestic volcanoes, and lush vineyards.
This 150-mile stretch of road passes through a natural area that is home to thousands of wildlife species and boasts museums, five state parks, and a national recreational area.
Traveling down this road is a celebration of life by the ocean. Stop along the way for a seaside picnic or to catch some waves.
On this route, you’ll pass misty beaches and rugged coastal hills and hug the edge of the Olympic Rainforest. You’ll also find charming coastal towns where you can stop for a meal or an overnight stay.
International Selkirk Loop
This 280-mile scenic drive completely encircles the amazing Selkirk Mountains of eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and southeastern British Columbia.
Lewis & Clark Trail
Retrace the steps of famous explorers Lewis & Clark along the magnificent Columbia River.
This route ascends an active volcano, passing through dense rainforests and beside stunning waterfalls, with dramatic views of the North Cascades along the way.
Mountains to Sound Greenway
The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area is one of the most spectacular scenic byways in the Pacific Northwest. The drive connects diverse ecosystems and communities spanning from Seattle and Puget Sound to Ellensburg in east-central Washington. Along this route, you’ll find stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities as well as plenty of history and culture.
North Cascades Scenic Byway
As the North Cascades Scenic Byway loops between massive peaks and along lakes colored turquoise by glacial silt, you’ll see why these mountains are called “the American Alps.”
North Pend Oreille
This byway in the northeast corner of Washington traverses a remote and rugged land of mountain ranges, bootleggers’ caves, and 2000-year old cedars.
This route follows the Native American Cariboo Trail through rolling hills, dense forests, and expansive prairies and through majestic granite canyons.
On this 360-mile route along the dramatic Washington coastline, you’ll find the longest natural beach in the United States, the best place to storm watch, and rain forests with record-sized trees.
The highways in the Palouse are extensions of Indian trails, wagon roads, and railroads that once connected important points in the region. These roads wind through rural scenery of rolling hills and pastures, dotted with small towns.
San Juan Islands
This is Washington’s newest scenic byway, featuring the only route in the lower 48 with a marine highway, which was at one time a canoe route used by the coastal Salish people.
This is one of Washington’s lesser known and shorter byways, but it’s also one of the most memorable. It’s the highest maintained pass in the state, reaching 5,575 feet, and boasts incredible vistas as it traverses through pristine wilderness.
This route takes you through the blast zone of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. It is a 52-mile journey through decimated landscapes, which were forever changed by the force of the eruption. Take this journey to be humbled by the power of nature to destroy and reshape itself and ultimately, to create new life.
Steven’s Pass Greenway
Follow the Skykomish River along the Stevens Pass Greenway as it meanders through the western slopes of the Cascade mountains. The Stevens Pass Greenway, a National Scenic Byway in its own right, is also located on the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway, boasting stunning views and an array of adventurous hikes.
Strait of Juan De Fuca Scenic Byway
It is no joke to say that on this route, you can find some of the most impressive views on the planet. As the byway traverses the outermost rim of the Pacific Northwest, it passes beneath jagged cliffs and through some of the magnificent cedar forests of Olympic National Park.
The corridor passes through historic towns, with their logging camps, mines and ranches, rambling through the back roads between Salmon La Sac near the Snoqualmie Pass summit and Vantage on the Columbia River. This route has natural beauty and historic interest galore and is also the gateway to a plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities.
Thurston Bountiful Byway
This 60-mile relaxing route is great for nature lovers, including hikers, bikers, and birders. It holds many treasures along the way, including a famous estuary, a geological mystery, a railroad that has been reclaimed for hiking and biking, and best of all a cookie stop!
Whidbey Island Scenic Isleway
The Whidbey Island Scenic Isleway is for those who enjoy beautiful nature sprinkled with some culture and sophistication. It features charming seaside towns, art galleries, the famous Penn-cove mussels, and deluxe accommodations.
White Pass Scenic Byway
This route is considered the gateway to outdoor recreation in the South Cascades. It winds through the forests of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Mt. Rainier National Park, and the White Pass Ski Area before arriving at the basalt rock landscape further east.
Yakama Scenic Byway
The byway begins at a point where arid desert drops into farmland and then ascends into the desolate hills leading into the Simcoe Mountains and Satus Pass. You will sense the enduring spirit of the Yakama people as this byway carries you across their hauntingly beautiful ancestral lands.
Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway
To access this route, exit Interstate 82 and take the picturesque drive through the rolling green and golden landscapes of Yakima Canyon. If you have time, enjoy a picnic or a hike or consider camping here. Pristine nature abounds.