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Filmed on the Cascade Loop
When you are surrounded with the kind of beauty we have on the Cascade Loop, its not surprising that movie crews have been coming to the area for years to film movies. Read More >>>>
Top 5 Places to Camp Along the Cascade Loop
Do you enjoy the great outdoors, sleeping under the stars, and huddling around a campfire at night with your loved ones while roasting marshmallows over a hot flame? If you said yes to any of those questions, then it sounds like you’re ready for an adventure! It’s that time of year again when North Central Washington is greeted with beautiful weather and perfect conditions for an amazing camping trip. We’ve compiled a top 5 list of some of the best places along the Cascade Loop to lay your tent and sleeping bag. Read More >>>>
Seattle Space Needle Celebrates 60!
These days you can’t think about the State of Washington without envisioning the iconic Space Needle towering over the Seattle skyline. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, for which the theme “The Age of Space” conjured the futuristic flying saucer balanced on three spindly legs in the mind of the fair’s Chief Organizer, Edward E. Carlson. Read More >>>>
Deer Sightings Along the Loop
The best times of year to spot deer is fall through spring, when they tend to forage in orchards and yards (they are fond of black sunflowers from bird feeders). The heat of summer sends them to the higher elevations where it is cool, but you will still see have plenty of opportunity to see them as you drive Stevens and North Cascades passes Read More >>>>
Celebrating Native American Heritage
Since time immemorial, Coast Salish and Columbia Plateau tribes and bands have lived throughout the regions that the Cascade Loop now connects. For thousands of years and up until a few hundred years ago, Native Americans were the only humans living in the area we now call Washington. Two primary cultural groups were geographically divided by the Cascades—the Coast Salish or coastal tribes living west of the mountains, near Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, and the Plateau tribes living inland, east of the mountains on the Columbia Plateau. Read More >>>>
Hard Ciders Pour From The Apple Capital of the World
Sometimes seen as country bumpkins next to Washington’s sophisticated wines, hard ciders are quietly making themselves at home in the heart of Washington State. Read More >>>>
Great Horned Owl
The most common owl found on the North American continent is the great horned owl -- and they are what most people imagine when they think of owls in storybooks. They live all across the country, and are at home in secluded forest lands up to the tree line, or in busy neighborhood parks. Read More >>>>
Late Winter Trailer Camping
Being the first weekend in March in Wenatchee, it was chilly, but the birding was great! My husband loves to spend time by a campfire so we stocked up on bundles of firewood. We recently traded in our 20+ year old travel trailer for a brand-spanking new one, with lots of bells and whistles. They recommended we take it out and make sure everything works – so we planned a weekend at a state park a whopping 5 miles from home. Read More >>>>
Explore Scenic Bellingham and Whatcom County Like a Local
Outdoor recreation is the number one reason that so many adventurous folks choose to live in Whatcom County. Situated between the Salish Sea and the North Cascades, Whatcom is a land of towering peaks, serene forests, countless trails, and endless outdoor opportunities. Whether you’re interested in hiking, exploring public parks, paddling, snow sports, or simply taking a scenic drive, there’s something for everyone here. Read More >>>>
Cascade Tunnel - Longest Railroad Tunnel in the US
It was in December of 1900 when the longest railroad tunnel in the US was opened for train travel over Steven’s Pass. Nine years later the tunnel was electrified! Read More >>>>
The Night The Mountain Fell
On December 14, 1872, at almost 10pm, folks across the region were awakened by a massive earthquake. Contemporary accounts describe the earth rolling from North to South, no jolting bumps, just the feeling like walking on the deck of a ship in rough seas. Read More >>>>
COVID and Methow Trails
Join Methow Trails in choosing to #RecreateResponsibly. They are planning on operating a fairly normal season this year, with nightly grooming of nearly all of our 120+ miles of trail, free skiing for all kids 17 and under (and seniors 75+), and perfectly groomed trails for all abilities. We have implemented numerous changes to keep folks safe. Read More >>>>
Meet the Locals: Steven & Michelle (also their close friend, Wine)
We’ve known Michelle and Steven for a few years and know that one of the things that they really enjoy together, like many Cascade Loop travelers, is our state’s amazing local wines. Did you know that Washington State is home to over 1,000 wineries and over 60,000 acres of wine grapes? AND the Cascade Loop is home to all manner of wineries with different varietals being grown in the various regions of the Loop. It makes sense that since our byway landscape, topography and climate vary wildly from region to… Read More >>>>
Salmon Viewing Locations on the Loop
Fall marks the season when Salmon can be seen in the waterways along the Cascade Loop. Check this list for some of our favorites! Read More >>>>
Meet the Locals: Jake and Family
With a scenic byway that’s as large in scale as the Cascade Loop, naturally the landscape, views and activities vary wildly from region to region. Each area delivers its own distinct vibe, character, rich history and of course, diverse locals. The combination of these elements yield a vacation experience like none other, and significantly, the people who live and work here are the living embodiment of what makes our destination so special. In a nutshell: our diversity is what makes the Cascade Loop so special. Read More >>>>
Watchable Wildlife - Blue Heron
As you are driving along the waterways of the Cascade Loop, be on the lookout for the majestic Great Blue Heron. They are regularly spotted wading in shallow water, patiently watching for small fish or frogs, their most common meals. Read More >>>>
Top 10 Fall Color Corridors on the Cascade Loop
The thing that folks love most about the Cascade Loop is its diversity of views throughout the byway, and fall colors are no exception. The colors are wild and vibrant and showcase a range of colors and textures as you explore the route. Travel counter-clockwise for the best views and know that as always, Mother Nature sets the schedule for when and how the colors change. Typically however, travelers can expect peak colors from the last week of September through mid-October. Special note: due to COVID-19 most Autumn public events… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Smokejumper Base
Two air-horn blasts, loud enough to be heard in every corner of camp brings a scurry of activity at North Cascades Smokejumper Base. The men and women stationed here have two minutes to don their protective jump suits and gather at the airfield. Read More >>>>
Birding - Bald Eagles
Symbolized as the National bird of the United States in 1782, Bald Eagles are unique to North America and they can be found in abundance in many areas of the Cascade Loop throughout the year. Read More >>>>
Wellington Train Disaster
March 1, 2020 marks the 110th Anniversary of the most deadly avalanche in US History. Late in February, two Great Northern trains bound for Seattle, the Spokane Local No. 25, carrying passengers, and Fast Mail Train No. 27 were first delayed in Leavenworth, WA due to an unusually fierce snowstorm. On February 23rd they pressed on through the Cascade Tunnel, but were forced to stop near Wellington, a small railroad community just east of the summit of Stevens Pass. Snow was falling at a rate of a foot an hour,… Read More >>>>
Achieve Your New Years Resolution Goals In Winthrop Washington
Here in Winthrop Washington we take outdoor recreation seriously – in a fun way. If you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, why not set a goal to complete a race among wild flowers, snow capped mountains, and pristine public land? Spend a night in at one of our many hotels with hot tubs to relax those sore muscles. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, cross-country skier, or pickleball enthusiast, we have something for you. You can also reserve our outdoor rink for your next hockey tournament. Read More >>>>
Watchable Wildlife - California Quail
One of the most prevalent birds to be found year round on the Cascade Loop are the California Quail. These birds are Identified by a topknot, a protruding group of feathers on the top of their head. The male quail (cock) topknot is larger than the female (hen), and it droops forward and shakes when he walks and calls. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Gray Partridge
The Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix) is also known as the Hungarian Partridge, or around these parts, especially for game bird hunters, simply "Huns." Like many of our other "game birds," they were introduced from Europe around 1900 or so. I've never seen one in a pear tree, in fact I don't see them much in the mid to upper Methow Valley where I live, but they can be locally common in various spots throughout Okanogan County. They don't migrate and are active year-round, generally sticking to cultivated or old agriculture… Read More >>>>
Winthrop Wine Walk
If you're visiting Winthrop Washington, taking in the western boardwalks and relaxed atmosphere, you might as well stop to enjoy some local wine along the way. There are many great options for wine tasting within a short, beautiful walk. Read More >>>>
Boat History on Lake Chelan
For over 100 years boats have been transporting goods and passengers to points along Lake Chelan where there are no roads. The original "Lady of the Lake" was built at Lakeside (across the lake from Campbell's) when the lake was too shallow to dock at Chelan. For a fascinating step back in time, take the trip on one of the Lady of the Lake boats still providing service to Stehekin. And to learn a bit more about the history, keep reading! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Spotted Towhee
It's that time of year when we are starting to see fewer birds. The long-distance migratory birds like our warblers are long gone, and many species who just head a little bit south or simply fly over the Cascades to the west side of the state have been on the move in the last recent weeks. Read More >>>>
Newly Opened Trail In Winthrop Washington - You will Want To See For Yourself
If you’re into mountain biking, we have some exciting news for you from Winthrop Washington! Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance | Methow Chapter has reaped the rewards of a ten-year permitting process to access the national forest around Sun Mountain Lodge for mountain bike trails. The pinnacle of the quarter-million-dollar project is the newly opened Thompson Ridge Trail. This is a single-track trail (not dirt road) which is intended to be ridden clockwise in about three to six hours depending on the cyclist. There really isn’t anything like it in the… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Varied Thrush
"The Varied Thrush is a gorgeous bird with a simple single note for a song. It is closely related to the American Robin and other thrushes who are considered amazing songsters. Bird sightings and behaviors are often major seasonal cues for me, and I tend to think of the Varied Thrush as a "winter" bird in our neck of the woods because they move up in elevation to the mountains during the summer and back down to our yards and feeders from now through early spring. Winter must be nearly… Read More >>>>
Winthrop Ice Rink is open for winter!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gliding across glistening ice on a pair of skates. Add a stunning outdoor setting, complete with towering mountains and bald eagles soaring overhead, and you’ve got the Winthrop Rink. Nestled in the Methow Valley, the Winthrop Rink offers a range of programs for all ages and abilities, from Open Skate sessions, to drop-in hockey, to freestyle figure skating, to Learn to Skate, to hockey tournaments. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: White Headed Woodpecker
These woodpeckers are not especially abundant - in fact they are currently candidates for listing on the WA state endangered species list and they are a species-of-concern for Audubon Washington - but they can be locally common in Okanogan and surrounding NCW counties. Read More >>>>
Winthrop Washington Opens New Homestream Park
Right in the heart of the town of Winthrop, a piece of land has been donated and dedicated to locals and visitors alike. Homestream Park is beautiful park is full of gorgeous artwork by Native American sculptor Smoker Marchand depicting the original inhabitants of this special place we call the Methow Valley. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Sandhill Crane
Okanogan County is fortunate to be one of the few places in Washington where one can regularly see - and hear- Sandhill Cranes each spring and fall as they migrate. This past weekend a large group was seen flying south above Winthrop and Twisp. It was spectacular! Read More >>>>
Local Boy Makes National News: Miss Veedol 1931
On October 5th in 1931, Pangborn, an aerial acrobat and barnstormer along with his co-pilot, successfully completed the first non-stop flight eastbound across the Pacific Ocean in their red Bellanca J-300 Long Distance Special called the Miss Veedol. The term “successful” was up for debate, as their entire escapade was fraught with challenges they could not have imagined. Read More >>>>
Elk Rut Season
The elk rut begins around the time of the autumnal equinox in mid-September, and lasts a month. During this time, male elk, called bulls, will challenge each other for the privilege of mating with the females, or cows, in the harem. Bulls become aggressive and warn the other bulls to stay away from their harem. They “bugle” which is a high-pitched whistle that often ends with grunts. They also charge at each other with heads down and use the strength of their powerful necks and shoulders to lock antlers and… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Dusky Grouse
"Grouse hunting season opened Sept 1 in Washington, and while I'm not a hunter I do think about Dusky Grouse a fair bit this time of year as the weather changes and these birds prepare for winter by fattening up on seeds and fruit, and by moving up out of the shrub-steppe and more into the conifer forests where they will sustain themselves through the winter on buds and needles (or burrowed into temporary snow caves when the weather is really rough). You might know this bird as the Blue… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Osprey
"Osprey are some of the largest and most common birds of prey in our region. We see them regularly along all our big rivers and other large bodies of water, and we probably even take them for granted sometimes, but now is the time to enjoy them because they are all about to head south for the winter. Right now, watch for groups of Osprey on nesting platforms and power pole structures. These groups are one to several full grown juveniles with one or both of their parents. The juveniles… Read More >>>>
Chelan County Fair-From Pioneer Days to Modern Ways
The 2019 theme of the Chelan County Fair is “From Pioneer Days to Modern Ways” and features some great new entertainment and vendors. The fair begins on Thursday, September 5th and runs through Sunday, September 8th. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and a Family Pass is $30 for 2 adults and 3 children. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Evening Grosbeak
Many of us see these big, colorful, and raucous finches in winter at our seed feeders, but because the Methow and Okanogan valleys and the surrounding mountains have high elevation mature conifers like Ponderosa Pine and Engelmann spruce, we are lucky to be able to see these birds year-round though we are at the southern end of their breeding range. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpipers are "shorebirds" that are common just about all over Washington. Here in Okanogan County, we see (and hear!) them along rivers and streams though they could also be found in gravel pits, farm ponds and other wetlands. These birds are still active in July - listen for their piercing high-pitched alarm call along rivers warning you to stay back. They do this because they make nests directly on the ground, in the river cobbles, typically within 100 yards of the water's edge. The nest is just a little… Read More >>>>
Identifying Raptors on the Cascade Loop
It’s a bird .. it’s a plane … what exactly is that in the sky? As you travel around the Cascade Loop you will likely see a variety of wildlife, including some very large birds that live in our region. This article will help you to accurately identify some of the most common of our raptors: osprey, bald and golden eagles, red-tail hawks and turkey vultures. The time of year you travel will affect your chances of seeing some of these incredible birds. Read More >>>>
Three Delightful Wagons Straight Out of a Fairyland--Now on Whidbey Island!
A bit of European history has found its way onto Whidbey Island.  And, if the woman responsible for bringing them here has her way, you’ll soon be able to see them.  But first, Carol Kildow has the job of restoring them to their original splendor.Two belonged to the nomadic Romani people of England, while the third was commissioned by the Church of England. She discovered them in Wales and lived in one for two years as a student.“I fell in love with the lifestyle. I fell in love with the… Read More >>>>
The Women behind the boom: How Wenatchee celebrates the Fourth
Written by Candice ReedAs multicolored peonies, chrysanthemums and willows bloom across the night sky this 4th of July, you might wonder what goes into a firework display from the unseen pyrotechnician and event planner who have choreographed the fun somewhere out there in the dark.“There was a year that Wenatchee didn’t have a firework display and it was kind of uneventful,” said Kelley Kennedy, CEO/Founder of Impact! Events, Inc.  “Mayor Frank Kuntz asked me if I wanted to see if I could get the fireworks back into the program and that… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: The Ruddy Duck
With a cinnamon body and bright blue bill, the male Ruddy Duck is one of our most noticeable and memorable ducks. But look closer and longer and you'll notice that their mannerisms and behavior are just as fascinating. Unlike many of our migratory duck species who might only be in Okanogan County 2-3 months, the Ruddys are generally here from early April through October. Look for these small, compact diving ducks on just about any pond or small lake. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: House Wren
The House Wren, a common, native bird all over the United States, is a small bird with a big voice that readily inhabits natural tree cavities and anything it can turn into a cavity (nest boxes, planters, shoes, yard art). Some people love this sweet little bird, and some people love to hate it. Read More >>>>
A Whale of a Tail
There are few animals in the wild as thrilling to see as a whale. Here in Washington state, we are fortunate enough to be on the migration route for several species of whale as they travel from Alaska to warmer southern waters to breed, then back again to Alaska to feed on the colder ocean’s bounty. The most common whale sightings are of Orca and Gray whales, some of whom find the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea such a beautiful area that they decide to stick around all year. That… Read More >>>>
My 3 thrilling Days in Wenatchee
Check out this sample of how one traveler spent 3 days in Wenatchee-- complete with food and activity recommendations! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Red Naped Sapsuckers
Sapsuckers are woodpeckers but instead of pecking into and excavating wood in search of insects, they drill small holes in trees in order to make the tree's sap run. Read More >>>>
Mexican Mole: A Rich and Regional Traditional Sauce
I wish I could remember the first time I had mole. Even though the specific moment doesn’t stand out, I do know that I never looked at Mexican food the same once I had it. Mole (pronounced mole-LAY) is a thick, rich sauce used in many regions of Mexico. Although generally its primary ingredient is dried chiles, the type of chile and the number of different chiles varies widely depending on its origin and the recipe. (Fun fact: in Mexico, chiles have different names depending on whether they’re fresh or dried).… Read More >>>>
Raptors of the Samish Flats: The Photography of Mukul Soman
This article was written by local photographer Mukul Soman. Take a look at these amazing photographs and enjoy some tips from a pro! The Skagit Valley has been one of my favorite places to photograph bird life in Washington state. Winter season is one of the best times of the year to view various species of wintering birds, especially raptors.  Every year during the months of December to March, the Valley becomes home to wintering ducks, geese and swan, which all provide plenty of feeding opportunities for aerial predators like raptors.… Read More >>>>
Gifts of Spring: Migrating Birds of the Upper Skagit
Spring is a time of great change in the Pacific Northwest. The warmer weather and abundant daylight signals species from insects to plants and animals to emerge from Winter dormancy and become active again. For migrating birds, it is a signal to begin their annual pilgrimage up North and join our forest and mountain communities. Migration is an adaptation many birds have developed over millennia to survive as Fall and Winter bring harsh weather and minimal food resources in Northern territories. Many of our feathered friends travel from the Southwestern… Read More >>>>
Gifts of Spring: Flowering Plants of the Skagit Valley
The Environmental Learning Center is coming alive with young leaves and new growth. Brightly colored flowers add vibrancy to the already spectacular landscape of snow capped mountains and turquoise Diablo Lake. Here are a few of the first flowering plants that we see around campus and out on the trails! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Rufous Hummingbird
The Rufous Hummingbird is one of three hummingbirds that breed in Okanogan County. The other two are the Calliope and the Black-Chinned (occasional reports of Anna's come up but they are primarily a west-side breeder). Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Mt. Erie
Mt Erie is located in Anacortes. The summit rises more than 1,200 feet above the sea and is visible clear across the valley. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography - Hike to Stehekin
The hike from the Skagit Valley up and over Cascade Pass and down along the river to the remote village of Stehekin, on the northern shore of Lake Chelan is a magnificent journey. Sort of like crossing the Misty Mountains to get to Rivendell, there is a lot to see! Read More >>>>
Spring brings a bevy of babies to the Loop!
Spring brings a bevy of babies, and we can’t get enough of the avian species found here in every corner of the Cascade Loop. There are many lakes, rivers, creeks and waterways that create a perfect habitat for ducks, geese, osprey and eagles to nest and raise their young. Keep a sharp eye out for these fuzzy critters! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Western Tanager
The Western Tanager is one of our most common forest birds in Eastern Washington, and with a yellow body and red head (on the male) you'd think they'd be easy to see! Surprisingly, they can be hard to find, blending into the high treetops and dappled sunlight, but we do hear it's "pit-r-ick" call all day. Read More >>>>
Cascade Loop Birding Trail
Did you know that the Cascade Loop is home to 225 of the 346 recorded bird species in our state? Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Tree Swallow
There are six swallow species in our area, and they are all incredible multi-tasking flyers who can communicate, catch insects and deftly swerve around each other all while flying. Read More >>>>
Featured Wildlife Area: Sinlahekin Wildlife Area
The Sinlahekin Wildlife Area is located within the Sinlahekin Valley. It offers a variety of fishing and recreational opportunities thanks to natural lakes, ponds, and man-made impoundments. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Ring-Necked Duck
"While the Ring-Necked Duck can be found fairly easily year-round in Okanogan County, I love watching them in the spring when they begin to congregate in large groups and pair up for mating season. I see them on just about every pond and lake. The trick is to be able to distinguish them from Scaups, which look very similar until you look for a couple of clear field marks. Ring-Necks have black backs while Scaups are white or light gray. And though Ring-Necks technically have a dark burgundy "ring" or… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Washington Pass
Washington Pass is one of the most scenic spots along the entire Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. Washington Pass is the highest point along the North Cascades Highway, at an elevation of 5477 ft./1669 m. Liberty Bell Mountain towers over the thin ribbon of pavement. Heading east, the highway plunges down to Mazama and Winthrop Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlarks are some of the first birds to come back to the Methow in early spring, and they aren't shy about announcing their arrival. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Skagit Valley Tulips
The start of spring in Skagit Valley heralds the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Broad swaths of brightly colored tulips spring up all over the flats.This is one stop along the Cascade Loop that you don't want to miss!Photographing them is wonderful fun. The saturation of colors, the often cloudy skies and lots of mud always make the trip an experience. The Washington Bulb Company is the leading grower of tulip, daffodil, and iris bulbs in North America. They grow bulbs throughout the valley and have a huge display garden, Roozengaarde. There is a store, a windmill… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: La Conner Daffodil Festival
The La Connner Daffodil Festival signals the start of spring in the Skagit Valley. As the dreary winter drags to a close the fields of the Skagit Flats slowly come alive. Read More >>>>
First Time Snowshoer: Advice from a Couch Potato
At fifty-plus years of age, I had a chance to go snowshoeing for the first time this winter. My husband and I stayed at Sun Mountain Lodge in the beautiful Methow Valley and here are a few tips based on the things I did wrong! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Say's Phoebe
The arrival of the Say's Phoebe is one of our first signs of spring here in Okanogan County, and they have been spotted daily for about a week now. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Red Winged Blackbird
According to the Seattle Audubon Society, Red-winged Blackbirds are widespread and abundant breeders throughout Washington's lowlands. In winter they are often less widespread, but can be abundant along the Columbia River. Many birds in Washington are migratory, and others move to lowlands forming large winter flocks.Red-winged Blackbirds display marked sexual dimorphism. Males in breeding plumage are very familiar birds to many people. They are solid black, with red wing patches. Each patch has a light yellow stripe below, and can be displayed in varying amounts. Female Red winged Blackbirds are… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Skagit Valley Sunrise
Photographing sunrise requires a bit of luck. You have to decide where to be for the sunrise, and so you go, in the dark, hoping for nice light...Once you're there and the sunrise starts, its usually too late to change locations. Today was one of those exceptions!There are many wonderful vantage points along the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway from which to photograph the Skagit Valley. One of my favorites is Sauk Mountain. The Skagit River loops in broad curves to the west... But this is only a hike for the summer months, access… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Johnson/Debay Swan Reserve
Skagit Valley is the winter home for Trumpeter and Tundra Swans.  The Johnson'/Debay Swan Reserve, located along Francis Road in Clearlake, is a wonderful place to visit them.The Johnson/DeBay Swan Reserve (JDSR), near Mt. Vernon, Washington, is America’s only swan reserve. Owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Reserve was dedicated in 2001 for the public to view wintering Trumpeter and Tundra Swans.There is a parking area and a bench. In the summer it’s quite green!The winter months are not as colorful, but the migrating waterfowl bring the place alive!It’s a… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers, mostly brown, with black-scalloped plumage and a flicker of crimson color on the top of their heads. According to the WDFW these woodpeckers were previously known as the red-shafted flicker, the Northern Flicker has a conspicuous white rump patch and salmon-colored wing undersides that are distinctly visible during its slow, bouncy flight. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography - Winter on the Cascade Loop
The severity of winter in Western Washington is all about elevation. The lowlands usually get very little snow, not counting this year of course! And the mountains get slammed. Several of the mountain passes in Washington close in winter due to snow avalanche conditions. The North Cascades Highway, SR 20, is one of them. Read More >>>>
Focused with Charley Voorhis: Learn to shoot a starburst
Join Charley Voorhis in the field as he shares photography and video tips that will help equip you for your next adventure. This round, learn to shoot that gorgeous starburst you often see in photos! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: American Goldfinch
These little finches are known as Willow Finches and are also the Washington State Bird. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Skagit Valley Snow Geese
Winter tends to be a bit wet and gray. But then the Snow Geese arrive! If you're out and about on the Cascade Loop in the winter months, be sure to come to Skagit Valley for a visit! Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Dark-Eyed Junco
These little sparrows can be spotted fluttering around the forest floor in search of seeds. During the warmer season, juncos are commonly found in the western mountains and the tips of Canada. As the weather cools and winter approaches, they expand their territory further in to the states and throughout North America. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Diablo Dam Tour
As you drive along the North Cascades Highway section of the Cascade Loop there plenty of wonderful vistas and things to see. There are three dams along the Skagit River, Diablo Dam is one of them, part of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project that supplies Seattle with a large proportion of its power needs. You can stop at the overlooks and admire them from afar, OR you can take the Diablo Dam Tour and see the operation up close. The unique, intense turquoise hue of the lake's water is attributed… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Baker River
The Baker River drains an area of 270 square miles in a complex of deep valleys partially inside North Cascades National Park. Access is year-round via the Baker Lake Road. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Valley Quail
Both valley (California) quail and mountain quail are found in Washington. Valley quail are by far the more abundant of the two and are found in vast numbers on both sides of the Cascades. Last year was a banner year for Quail in Okanogan Country, so you can spot quite a few this winter. Read More >>>>
Welcome to the Flower Garden
The English Flower garden at Willowbrook Manor is a beautiful place to enjoy a quiet summer afternoon. When we purchased the property back in 1996 it was just a cow pasture. I envisioned a secluded flower garden to compliment the planned vegetable garden and berry patches. So I rented a sod cutter to remove the grass for the vegetable garden.  That sod was used to create the elevation for the flower garden. I designed it to have three paths leading into a center oval courtyard, with a perimeter path surrounding the garden.… Read More >>>>
Stories From Willowbrook Manor: The Legend of Chango
In a corner of the East Lawn at Willowbrook Manor is a large rock. It is the grave marker for the place I buried a most faithful dog and companion. Chango came to me as a rescue Great Dane. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Rough Legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawks are just 1 of 3 hawk species in the U.S. with feathers reaching all the way to their toes, an adaptation for life in cold climates.The Rough-legged hawk is a large, long-winged, long-tailed hawk; with the females being larger than males. The Latin name Buteo lagopus means "rabbit-footed," as the legs are feathered completely down to the small yellow feet. These birds feature lots of dark coloring throughout their feathers with a white underside. The pattern and amount of dark coloring is extremely variable in this species. Flight… Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Capturing Images of the Milky Way
There is nothing more stunning than a clear image of the Milky Way Galaxy arcing overhead. The Majesty of the Galaxy is on display and you can feel yourself on the outer rim of the immense ring of stars... By far, the most difficult part of capturing images of the Milky Way is simply getting there, at the right time! Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: North Cascades Highway
The North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) follows the Skagit River from the Puget Sound deep into the mountains, reaching its highest point at Washington Pass, 100 miles east of I-5, before it drops down to the Methow Valley. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Western Bluebird
These blue feathered birdies have deep blue coloring on the top of their heads, wings, and tail with bold rufous coloring on their breast. Females have slightly less coloring than males, and have a white ring around the eyes. Read More >>>>
North Cascades Photography: Introductions
Each week we will visit some place in the North Cascades. The best camp sites; day hikes and overnight trips; lookout towers, the best locations for sunrises, sunsets and night sky imaging. Whether you're into a weeklong trip, or the best place for a drive-in view, I will cover the best times to go and How To Tips ranging from How to set exposure for a shot of the Milky Way and Where to see Mountain Goats? Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Trumpeter Swan
Over the years Trumpeter Swans have battled extinction due to hunters and feather collectors decimating the population. In the early 20th century swan feathers were often converted into writing quills, and women used swan skin as powder puffs. As recently as the mid-1900's these birds began to make their recovery, thanks to the help of aggressive conservation. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Chukar Partridge
The chukar is slightly larger than a valley quail and a little smaller than a ruffed grouse. Also known as red-legged partridge and rock partridge. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Bohemian Wax Wing
These full-bellied birdies feature a thick neck and a bushy crest atop their heads. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Gray Partridge
Introduced to North America in the late-nineteenth century, these European imports were first released in Washington and California but are now found in about a dozen Western and Midwestern states and most Canadian provinces. The first birds released in this country came from Hungary, so the gray partridge is also commonly known as Hungarian partridge, or Hun. Read More >>>>
North America's Largest Ski Area is Officially Open for the Season!
Methow Trails is officially open for skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing! Currently about 50% of the trails are groomed and open, primarily in the Sun Mountain, Rendezvous, and Mazama areas. Preliminary grooming will continue in other areas with an anticipated opening of the rest of the system after the next storm. Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Wild Turkeys Everywhere!
Merriam turkeys are native to the coniferous mountains and canyons of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. They live in the canyons and forests of northeast and central Washington. These turkeys prefer forests that contain ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, western white pine, Engelman spruce, Douglas maple, willows, cottonwoods, and aspens. In Washington, they eat grass leaves and seeds, ponderosa pine seeds, acorns, grasshoppers, forbs, and fruits like wild strawberries. Also, they prefer to roost in Douglas fir and grand fir trees. Read More >>>>
Bird of The Week: The Northern Pygmy Owl
The Northern Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium gnoma) is our smallest owl, at 7 inches tall, including its long tail. Because of its size, long tail, proportionally small head, and daytime hunting behavior, the Pygmy-owl is often misidentified or overlooked as just another brown bird in the brush. Watch for it near your winter feeder, where this fearless hunter may attempt to take small birds or mammals. It has sharply streaked undersides, but the most telling marks are the black patches on the back of its head that mimic eyes to deceive predator.… Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop Issue 6: Erika Halm
As the new Outreach and Access Manager of Methow Trails, Erika Kercher Halm is tasked with spreading the word about North America’s largest cross country ski network connecting over 120 miles of trails in Okanogan County. Working with over 175 landowners who generously allow public trail access on their properties, Halm seeks to expand and improve access of the trails by building relationships with private landowners and various federal and state land agencies. The resulting world-class system of interconnecting trails is a source of tourism revenue, outdoor fun… Read More >>>>
Eagles Preparing for Winter
Eagles can be found in every region of the Loop, and winter migration can bring hundreds of birds from Alaska to the local river valleys, like the Skagit, Methow, Wenatchee and Columbia. Depending on the year, migration usually begins in December, and the Skagit Valley Eagle Festival runs weekends in January. When snow begins to melt, most of the eagles head back north, but occasionally a pair will build a nest and set up residence – which can be a wonderful opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures. Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop Issue 5: Leaf Seaburg
Being in touch with nature comes easily for Leaf Little Fox Seaburg, owner and guide of Methow Fishing Adventures in Twisp, WA. Born and raised in the Methow Valley, Seaburg grew up fishing in its rivers and streams- he knows the area like the back of his hand. He shares his enthusiasm for fly fishing and the love of nature on the weekly Methow Fishing Report on KTRT 97.5 with his buddy, Deputy Don. On a recent broadcast, the two share news about community efforts to protect the… Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop Issue 4: Petra Kellie
Petra Kellie has always loved the valley. After working 4 years in various managerial positions at the Freestone Inn, Kellie is now its new general manager. While growing up in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Kellie has always maintained a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest. She studied political science and history at the University of Washington. As a child, Kellie spent part of her elementary school years in the Methow, enjoying the peace and quiet. “For me,” Kellie said, “Growing up internationally, I… Read More >>>>
Local Color on the Loop, Issue 3-Dan and Meg Donohue
Maybe it’s the aromatic whiff of rich, roasted coffee that envelops you as soon as you walk in the coffee bar; maybe it’s the playful baristas who love to photobomb or maybe it’s the fact that owners Dan and Meg Donohue greet everyone who enter this welcoming space with megawatt smiles, there’s an undeniable buzz at Blue Star Coffee Roasters in the small artsy town of Twisp, WA. Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop, Issue 2-Red
Nicknamed for her auburn hair and a penchant to blush, Debbie “Red” Schrock expertly navigates the frosted terrain on the horseback trails at Sun Mountain Lodge. Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop, Issue 1-Chef Tyler Krost
Local Color on The Loop is an ongoing, multi-issue installment featuring the colorful personalities one might just encounter while traveling the Cascade Loop. This installment features the talents of the Skagit Valley's own local photo journalistic celebrity, Ting-Li Wang. Ting-Li's previous experience includes The Wisconsin State Legislature, The New York Times, The Virginian-Pilot and The Hays Daily News 2018. Check out more of her work and follow her adventures on Instagram @tingliwangphoto. Read More >>>>
Adventures in the Aviation District
Above me, the distinct sound of airplanes soaring through the air follows me from Mukilteo to Everett. Sometimes it’s a light hum, other times deeper roar. No matter which sound it is, my eyes are ever glancing upward hoping to catch a glimpse of those modern winged marvels. At times, it seems as if they are guiding me from one museum to the next as I explore the Paine Field Aviation District. Read More >>>>
The History of Bigfoot (and How to Find Them)
“Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare yourself for your encounter . You must learn to listen to the heartbeat of the true land that is distant and removed from the sense- and mind-numbing cities, towns, and villages.” - Robert W. Morgan, Bigfoot Observer’s Field Manual Read More >>>>
Northwest Ferry Adventure Guide
New York City has the subway, London has the double-decker bus, and Seattle NorthCountry has the ferry. For over 65 years, ferries have been used to shuttle people from the island counties to the mainland. Read More >>>>
Land of Loops: Skykomish River Valley
The Skykomish River Valley in Seattle NorthCountry is full of the verdant natural beauty that can only be experienced in this corner of the country. The river valley’s route and arterial, Highway 2, begins near the Salish Sea in the west and goes to Stevens Pass and the Cascade Mountains in the east. Highway 2 is part of the Cascade Loop. If you follow the highway over the mountains, will take you to the Eastern Washington cities of Leavenworth and Wenatchee. Read More >>>>
Glamping at 1700 ft. in the Air
Imagine sipping your morning coffee in the stillness of the forest, kicking back in a cabin above the trees. The morning sun paints the snow-blanketed peaks all around you and bathes the valley below in golden colors. In the distance, you can see Bridal Veil Falls flowing out of Lake Serene. That could be a nice hike, you think, after a bit of breakfast. Read More >>>>
Methow Trails - Largest Cross-Country Trail System in North America!
A little known fact is that the Methow Trails system is indeed THE largest cross-country trail system in North America! While another U.S. trail system boasts their 140 km of trails, Methow Trails include over 220 km of groomed winter recreation trails, and 200 km of those are expressly dedicated to Nordic skiing. Soooo, if you love this sport as much as we do, you'll head their way this Winter! Read More >>>>
Did you know Ohme Gardens is 89 years old - Oh MY indeed!
Each year, my eight-year-old son and I make a "bucket list" of things we want to do over the summer and visiting Ohme Gardens is always on it. My son loves exploring the wandering stone pathways, towering turret-like viewpoints, and imagination-inspiring ponds. Personally, I adore the story behind the flowered alpine meadows, rolling lawns, and shady evergreens that stand out like a lush green citadel on the side of a barren, rocky hill. Read More >>>>
Camping With Kids Along The Cascade Loop
If you live near the state of Washington and you are interested in taking your first road trip, then few routes can beat the Cascade Loop: a scenic tour that will see you drive through incredibly diverse areas, including Everett, Snohomish, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Chelan, Winthrop, Anacortes, and Whidbey Island. The Loop is an ideal, quick getaway for families since it covers only 440 miles and can be completed in a day. More Americans are hitting the road in search of a wild, green adventure, according to MMGY Global’s 2017-2018 Portrait… Read More >>>>
There is something to be said about trekking high into the mountains to take in the sub-alpine country. It may be the heather flowers, the huckleberries, or the pine and dry dirt smell. It may be the brilliance of the Autumn colors illuminating in red, yellow and orange when the sun hits the leaves just right. Read More >>>>
Spider Meadows had been on my bucket list for too many years. Finally a date opened to tick it off and I texted my friend, Mandy, who agreed to join me. I recommended she bring her big camera and I would bring mine. Read More >>>>
Make Memories While Vacationing In The Cascade Loop
A popular travel quote reads: “Take vacations. Go as many places as you can. You can always make money. You can’t always make memories.” Every year millions of visitors flock to the 440-mile long Cascade Loop in Washington looking for adventure or just an escape from their otherwise busy lives. Although any trip to the Loop will undoubtedly provide young and old with ample memory-making opportunities, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure that you make the most of your Cascade Loop Vacation. Read More >>>>
Things To Do With The Kids In Lake Chelan
Spending time outdoors with your children is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon them. The Cascade Loop affords families with ample opportunity to explore the picturesque natural beauty of Washington State. One area, in particular, stands out as a must-visit family destination, filled with plenty of stops and activities that will be thoroughly enjoyed by both young and old--Lake Chelan Read More >>>>
Not All Hummingbirds Hum
One of the favorite birds to migrate to the state of Washington are hummingbirds. Three species can be found from early spring until late fall when they migrate back to spend the winter in the tropics. Of course, there are exceptions, like A male Anna that stays around our place all winter. I wrap my feeder in Christmas lights in an attempt to keep it from freezing. Read More >>>>
Kickin' It on Kiket Island - The Kukutali Preserve
What makes Kiket Island so special is the fact that it has been protected for so long. These hikes are on the Kukutali Preserve and opened up to the public in June of 2014. This means the land is so lush with a lively ecosystem and tons of wildlife. Read More >>>>
Know Your Beer Farmer
Do you know your beer farmer? Skagit Valley does! Usually when imbibing your favorite craft beer, you are drinking a combination of 4 ingredients: water, malted barley, hops and yeast (if drinking Budweiser add some rice and if drinking Coors or Miller add some corn). Read More >>>>
Top Ten Things to do in the North Cascades
The North Cascades’ 13 million acre ecosystem includes 7 million acres of protected public lands on both sides of the border – and endless opportunities for recreation, exploration, naturalizing and recharging one’s soul. Here are some of my favorite places from the northern end of the range, where I’ve lived, worked and taught for more than three decades. Read More >>>>
A Guide to Your Summer in Mount Vernon
When people think of Mount Vernon, most picture rows of colorful tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, but what happens when the flowers disappear? Mount Vernon is blooming with possibilities, even when the tulips aren’t. If you plan on enjoying your summer on The Cascade Loop, here’s a guide on how to make the most of Mount Vernon. Read More >>>>
Is it a chipmunk or a squirrel?
When I was small and we would camp near Lake Chelan, my dad and I would challenge each other to be the first to spot the wildlife, and I would always see what I called "chickmunks" first. Later in life I learned that what I saw most was a Douglas squirrel, but any time I see these critters, I think of my dad. Read More >>>>
Watchable Wildlife: Black Bear
Encountering a black bear in the wild is thrilling and crazy scary at the same time. Spring and fall are the best times to view these predators, and it is not uncommon to see scat while hiking trails in the natural areas. Enchantments Park near Leavenworth is a regular hangout in the spring for a momma (cow) and her cubs, and if you plan to camp in the National Forest, Be Bear Aware! During Fall the bears are focused on increasing their fat stores for winter, and will eat almost anything… Read More >>>>
The Cascade Loops Ultimate Aviation Experience
Location: Paine Field in Everett, WA Everett located just 30 miles north of downtown Seattle is the birthplace of the Boeing 747 and home to four world class aviation experiences. Over 135,000 visitors tour the Boeing Factory each year and those in the 'know' venture just across the airport to three other unique experiences. Begin day one with two of the four aviation attractions based at Paine Field, Everett: - Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour (the factory tour is 1.5 hours)             Inside the world largest building… Read More >>>>
Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival
Each year, Mukilteans give one last hurrah each September to the passing of summer with a huge community party that we lovingly call the Lighthouse Festival. Its grown over the years, with 2017 being our 52nd year.  For visitors passing through our area on the Cascade Loop Highway, please consider stopping in and enjoying all that the Festival has to offer (September 8-10, 2017): For three days we'll have artisan booths, food booths, a children's area including a petting zoo, climbing wall, and much more. Many non-profits are on-site with traditional… Read More >>>>
Snohomish River Valley
Everett, Mukilteo, Snohomish, Monroe The Cascade Loop begins in the bustling port city of Everett, located just 28 miles north of Seattle via I-5. Take a quick side trip to Spencer Island! Everett is home to the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, waterfront restaurants, museums and galleries. Visit the waterfront and shop, dine or stroll the marina boardwalk while enjoying the magnificent views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Schedule some time in Washington State's "Antique Capital", Snohomish. It's listed on both the state and national registers of… Read More >>>>
Grouchy Chef
For Seinfeld fans, Mukilteo can provide a fond reminder of a minor, but memorable character. Do you recall the Soup Nazi? For those who missed the oddball, sometimes sophomoric sitcom that ran from the late 80's to the late 90's, Seinfeld was the story of four eccentric friends, living their daily, often tedious lives in New York City. They took quirky to a whole new level; hence the introduction of the Soup Nazi.  One of the characters, Kramer, discovered a soup stand with an owner who offered (selectively) soups to his customers.… Read More >>>>
Summer on Fidalgo Island
Summer is a popular time for guests to visit Anacortes we completely understand why! With our mild summer temperatures, lush forest lands to explore, and water that surrounds us on all sides, staying here is a terrific way to spend your summer vacation. Read More >>>>
Taking to the Skies Along the Cascade Loop
Aviation is a big deal in the Snohomish River Valley region of the Cascade Loop. But what I didn't realize is how catching the passion could be to engage in aerial adventures! Read More >>>>
Bird Watching on Fidalgo Island
Bald eagles, marsh wrens and oyster-catchers; these are just a few of the birds one can spot on Fidalgo Island. Whether you are visiting for the day or staying for the weekend there are plenty of birding opportunities to enjoy. With a pair of binoculars, your camera, and a favorite reference guide in-hand there is plenty to see while hiking in the forests, taking in the viewpoints, or strolling along the beaches. Fidalgo Island is part of the Great Washington Birding Trail which features over 350 birds throughout Western Washington.… Read More >>>>
Surviving Days Off With Children
By Joni Kirk The holidays are upon us, and I don't simply mean the time between Christmas and New Years Day. Schools also close for extended breaks over the Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Day holidays, snow days, and parent-teacher conferences. So what is one to do to survive these days off with high-energy kids? Along the Cascade Loop in Snohomish County, activities abound to keep children busy. Here is a sampling of activities we have enjoyed with our three kids. Mental Activities Just because kids have the day off doesn't mean… Read More >>>>
Watchable Wildlife: Bald Eagles
Symbolized as the National bird of the United States in 1782, Bald Eagles are unique to North America and they can be found in abundance in many areas of the Cascade Loop throughout the year. Read More >>>>
Ten Treks To Take--Winter on the Cascade Loop
Looking for some fresh air, space to move freely and get that heart a pumpin'? Look no more! The Cascade Loop has all manner of outdoor activities to keep you busy, happy and health this winter! Read More >>>>
Traditions with Trees
By Joni Kirk There is something magical about making our way through the forest with snow or rain falling around us, side-stepping muddy paths, and warming chilled noses that motivates my family to leave our cozy home in early December to find the perfect Christmas tree in the inviting Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest off Highway 2 along the Cascade Loop. We start out early, heading east on Hwy 2 from Everett towards the mountain foothills. Our tradition is to stop at a local restaurant to fill up on a hearty breakfast. Last… Read More >>>>
Photographer's Paradise!
The Cascade Loop Scenic Byway spans the east and west sides of Washington State's Cascade Mountain Range, and photo opportunities along the route are varied and spectacular, covering all interests for professional photographers and snap-happy travelers alike. Spring brings blossoms and babies, and every region of the Loop has ample viewing opportunities from the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley to the orchard blossoms along the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers. Wildlife abounds in nearly every meadow and stream throughout the Loop, and a careful eye can spot fawns, ducklings and occasional… Read More >>>>
Preparing for the Holidays with Local Creative Inspiration
By Joni Kirk As the beautiful fall colors appear on trees, my internal holiday clock starts ticking. I know I have a limited amount of time to prepare gifts for loved ones, especially as I ship many gifts to relatives in other states right around Thanksgiving. I have three traditions that occur when it comes to holiday gifts, and all three occur along the Cascade Loop in Snohomish County. First, before the weather convinces the orange, red, and yellow leaves to drop from their precarious positions on trees, I love to take… Read More >>>>
Pursuing Healthier Streams and Wetlands at Northwest Stream Center
In the Pacific Northwest, water is our lifeline. From the Cascade Mountains, hundreds of miles of glistening rivers and streams make their way to Puget Sound. Those waterways teem with fish that feed thousands of people and other creatures, and the waterways help ensure the nearby farmlands and forests receive the water they need to grow. I recently discovered a local waterway and quite by accident learned how essential it is to ensure riparian habitat is healthy in order for these other gifts of nature to stay healthy. McCollum Park, just… Read More >>>>
Pybus Market Voted Best Farmers Market in the Northwest in 2015 by Evening Magazine
Pybus Market has garnered a name for itself with some one-of-a-kind "events" such as our"bra chandelier" in October for breast cancer awareness month, our chess and lego tournaments or antique cars and boats on display. But it is really our merchants who keep visitors coming back. Shopping at Pybus is an experience, there is no way around it. Most people who walk into Pybus Market say something like "wow, this is really cool." Shopping here means you'll be buying goods and services that are locally sourced and locally grown, whenever… Read More >>>>
Thats Right, its Movie Night!
Going to the movies these days is an exercise in high-tech CGI, 3D imaging techniques, wait staff for food and beverages, and large recliners to enhance the overall experience. Plush, to be sure, but somewhere along the way, going to a movie morphed into something completely different. Do you remember the outdoor Thunderbird Theater in Marysville (our neighbor to the northeast)? It closed in the early 90's but the uniqueness of sitting in that little island of intimacy called "your car", windows down, with a corded speaker slung over the edge… Read More >>>>
Stevens Pass Sidetrip: Osprey Park
A nature lovers playground complete with thousands of pink salmon fighting their way up the Sultan River to spawn. This park offers front row seats to this amazing struggle, which occurs each odd year, as well as wheel chair and baby stroller-accessible hiking trails leading to the Sultan River. Other amenities include a baseball field, basketball court and playground equipment for the whole family to enjoy while stretching their legs. Join hundreds of other guests here at the Return of the Salmon celebration, occurring the third Saturday of September. Read More >>>>
Snohomish County Sidetrip: Spencer Island
Explore 3.6 miles of trails, a boardwalk and amazing bird watching! Spencer Island provides opportunities to encounter shorebirds, American Bitterns, Vireos and Warblers. From northbound I-5, take exit 195. Drive left (west) on East Marine View Dr. Turn left (north) onto Hwy 529N ramp and drive over the bridge. Turn right (east) onto 28th Pl N. Turn right (south) onto 35th Ave. NE. Turn left (east) onto Ross Ave. Bear right at the Y onto Smith Island Rd. Turn left (east) onto 4th St. SE. Walk across the bridge to… Read More >>>>
Hike of the Month- Spider Meadows
For years I've read articles about Spider Meadows, but for one reason or another, just never made it that way. Well, happily that all changed this week. Me and a group of friends--some new and some old-- got our acts together and headed out! I was really surprised at what a mellow but absolutely beautiful hike it was! Yes, it's a little on the long side for some (5.5 miles in to the meadow) and yes, it will consume a good portion of one of your traveling days, but it… Read More >>>>
Perfect Weekend in Anacortes
You'll pack more into your weekend getaway and keep the lid on your budget when your island destination is picturesque, fun, historic Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. The best-kept secrets often are closer and easier to access than you think! Anchored by a vibrant, friendly downtown and surrounded by water, infinite adventures await. So grab your camera for a weekend getaway and prepare to be surrounded by scenes from a Pacific Northwest picture book. Show up on the first Friday of the month to join the Art Walk, 6 9 pm, where guests… Read More >>>>
Sunday Afternoon Waterfall Adventures Along the Cascade Loop
August is typically a warm month in the Pacific Northwest. The rain disperses for weeks at a time, and people actively seek ways to cool off. Along the Cascade Loop, you cant miss the water. There are gorgeous blue and green rivers flowing wild and boundless. But I like the adventure of finding water- specifically waterfalls- where I must venture off the road. Each Sunday afternoon, my husband and I have a standing date to go explore some of the many waterfalls in Snohomish County along the Cascade Loop. Knowing where… Read More >>>>
Please--No More Abandoned Campfires
Over the 4th of July holiday weekend Forest Service firefighters extinguished abandoned campfires on most ranger districts of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Luckily, these fires were either still inside fire rings or had not grown larger than about a tenth of an acre. "Most campers are really conscientious and put out their campfires. Unfortunately, we continue to have people who don't take the time to make sure their campfires are out before leaving their campsite," said Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Fire Staff Officer Keith Satterfield. "We want people to have fun and enjoy… Read More >>>>
Uncover Community Culture Along Highway 2
As you head down the west slope of the Cascade Mountains on Highway 2, imagine early settlers moving in the area. Towns in the Skykomish and Snohomish River valleys honor and celebrate their heritage each year with local festivals. July is the perfect month to take weekend trips to experience what made Snohomish County attractive to the pioneers. Sultan Shindig, July 8-10 Sultan has a rich history as a logging community. We arrived in town in time to take in the grand parade, where the talented drummers from Sultan High School made… Read More >>>>
Please Fully Put Out Your Campfires
Campfires are one of the pleasures of camping in the woods, but along with the cozy campfire is the responsibility to make sure it is COMPLETELY out before leaving the campsite. Don't let your campfire become a wildfire! Before leaving home, always check to find out what the campfire restrictions are for the area you plan to visit. If campfires are allowed, please follow these suggestions when building and extinguishing your campfire.Use an existing fire ring, don't create a new one. When not in a designated campground, in a Wilderness area… Read More >>>>
Varoom... Driving Toward Summer
Car enthusiasts understand how amazing it is to belong to a car club. There is a common love of all things metal, leather and chrome. As a community you share interests just the same way a book club or cooking club does. Petrolheads recognize that "interest" is really more of a passion, and socializing at Car Shows is a great way to show off your favorite toy, take a peek at the competition, and learn whats new and innovative in the car world.   Car enthusiasts are diverse, coming from all… Read More >>>>
Spend Your Summer Vacation in Anacortes
Summer is a popular time for guests to visit Anacortes- we completely understand why! With our mild summer temperatures, lush forest lands to explore, and water that surrounds us on all sides, staying here is a great way to spend your summer vacation. Anacortes is known for its thriving music scene. All year, local venues like the Rockfish Grill, 13moons, H2O, and The Brown Lantern rock with musicians. In summer, Seafarers Memorial Park, the Farmers Market at the Depot and The Heart of Anacortes amp up the ambiance with inviting outdoor… Read More >>>>
Andy Porter Images North Cascades Photo Tours
Andy Porter Images North Cascades Photo Tours. If you're planning a visit to the North Cascades and you love photography you may want to consider a North Cascades Photo Tour! Andy Porter is a professional nature and landscape photographer living in Skagit Valley who offers all levels of Photo Tours. Andy leads small groups of people on short (or long!) trips to explore the region and capture its beauty with your camera. There are a wide range of Photo Tours available, depending upon your time available. Drive-In Photo Tours are where we visit scenic… Read More >>>>
Anacortes Waterfront Festival
The Anacortes Waterfront Festival is all about letting your inner sailor embrace life on the water. This annual Anacortes event has something for everyone: an open-air car show, food vendors, arts and craft booths, children's activities, giant slides, water balls, dinners and dances, live music and entertainment, wine and beer garden, and so much more! 2016 Dates: Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5 Free Boat Rides- Brought to you by the Anacortes Yacht Club. Get there early on Saturday and Sunday for a free boat ride in the waters around Anacortes.… Read More >>>>
Connect with Nature along the Red Rooster Route
To get away from city life on a weekend, my family indulges in road trips - known as "Mom's Adventures" - to explore new things. While we often think as the state parks and national forests as those outdoor escapes, a journey to local farms can provide a fresh perspective. From the North Cascade Highway, between Concrete and Corkindale, we turned onto State Route 530 for an overnight detour to uncover different opportunities to connect with nature. As we headed west taking in the scenic views of the Sauk river, we came… Read More >>>>
Set Your Senses Soaring with Upcoming Events at Paine Field
The Cascade Loop starts in Mukilteo, and there are some great upcoming events that help you encounter its amazing aviation attractions. I was able to experience some of these with my family last year, and look forward to doing so again! Paine Field Aviation Day I was delighted with my family's reaction to the Paine Field Aviation Day, which takes place this year on May 21. This action-packed day has sensory delights for all ages. Since my young ones seem to be hungry all the time, we filled our tummies at the… Read More >>>>
Food for Thought
Take it from a person who lived on an island in Alaska for 30 years; going to a bona fide Farmers Market is awesome! Don't misunderstand me, living in a 17-million acre National Forest has its culinary benefits: fresh seafood abounds, wildlife is abundant, and native berries thrive. Corn on the cob, lovely, ripe peaches, plump tomatoes...not so much. My Farmers Market came in the form of ordering on-line to an organic farm out of Carnation, Washington. They shipped crates of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables via Alaska Airlines to… Read More >>>>
Family & Kid-friendly Fun Indoor Activities in Snohomish County
As the days grow shorter and temperatures become chillier, families can keep their kids entertained at some of Snohomish Countys top indoor attractions. Western Heritage Center, Monroe This agricultural, logging and mining museum features a water wheel-driven drill press, a washing machine that runs off tractor gearing, the model railroad diorama, simulated mine shaft, and more. Imagine Children's Museum, Everett Young children can pretend to fly a plane, make a deposit at a bank and more, all designed to help them learn about the world around them. The Reptile Zoo, Monroe Hear the kids squeal in… Read More >>>>
Eat Your Way Along the Loop: Tasty Finds in Snohomish County
As the holidays approach, everyone is looking for those unique gift items or special holiday treats! Snohomish County is home to many unique specialty food and drink establishments- and a drive around the Cascade Loop will bring you right to their doorsteps! Mukilteo Chocolate Company, Mukilteo One of the owners apprenticed with a Master Chocolatier and trained in the European-style of chocolate and truffle making. Try their truffles (including the award-winning lavender cheesecake), fudges and custom-made chocolates. Bluewater Organic Distilling, Everett Be prepared for cocktail hour with organic gin and vodka. The distillery features a tasting… Read More >>>>
Thanks for a GREAT season everyone!
Skydive Chelan will re-open in March and by appointment Nov-Feb! Call to inquire about a Winter Wonderland Skydive! Look for us at the Pybus Market in Wenatchee or visit our us at and for great specials on Gift Certificates for the Holidays! Read More >>>>
Follow Us On Instagram and Find Treasure!
The Cascade Loop wants to build an audience that uses Instagram, and we're gonna make it worth your while! Starting next week, expect to see us post images taken along the Loop where we place gift cards and goodies for you to find and use on the Loop! When you find a Cascade Loop Instagram treasure, just take a selfie with your find and tag us at #cascadeloop! Ready to start following us? Find us here: Read More >>>>
2016 Washington State Scenic Calendars
Even if you've traveled just a small part of the Cascade Loop there is no doubt that the magnificent scenery stayed with you, beckoning you to return. The mountains and valleys, rivers and farms, lakes and wildlife along the way will be there awaiting you. But in the meantime its always good to have a reminder handy. An image to brighten your day and push you outdoors, a picture to remind you of what your next adventure holds. And what better way to do this than a calendar! Each months fresh image exerting… Read More >>>>
Pumpkin Patch Fun in Snohomish County
One of the most iconic fall activities is visiting the pumpkin patch -- picking out that perfect pumpkin, enjoying corn mazes, hay rides, apple cider and cute farm animals. Here are some tried and true favorites in Snohomish County: Craven Farm, Snohomish Craven Farm features a 20-acre pumpkin patch, a 15-acre corn maze, a 3-D Pumpkin Adventure, a hay ride, a pumpkin and apple slinger, a scarecrow making station, face painting, farm animals, an Anna & Else Meet and Greet (for Frozen lovers!), a harvest market, an espresso shop and a gift… Read More >>>>
Skydive Chelan
Skydive with us over beautiful Lake Chelan, Washington's largest natural lake. Enjoy a scenic ride to altitude with stunning views of Lake Chelan, the Cascade Mountains, and the Columbia River. Skydive Chelan offers the best views in Washington! Be a part of an adventurous way to share in the beauty of mother nature. Freefall with our expert staff where your safety and experience is our top priority! Contact: 509-881-0687 201 Airport Way Chelan, WA 98816  Read More >>>>
Leavenworth/Cascade Foothills
Leavenworth, Plain, Lake Wenatchee, CashmereThe Tumwater Canyon is the spectacular gateway to the renowned Bavarian Village of Leavenworth. The Wenatchee River hugs sheer canyon walls on one side, twisting through the rocky gorge. Suddenly, round a corner and there is Leavenworth, nestled against towering, jagged mountains. Beforehand though, consider a detour through quaint Plain, a small community offering abundant activities in winter: snowmobile tours, sleigh rides and cross-country skiing, and hiking, horseback riding and zip-lining in summer. Pristine Lake Wenatchee, just 3 miles from Plain, delivers breathtaking views, fishing and a… Read More >>>>
Stevens Pass Greenway
Sultan, Gold Bar, Index, Skykomish, Stevens Pass Stevens Pass Greenway is a designated National Scenic Byway following the Great Northern Railway's, Iron Goat Trail and the thundering Skykomish and Wenatchee Rivers. Several small, rustic towns (Sultan,Gold Bar, Index and Skykomish) offer extensive hiking, white water rafting, waterfall viewing, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife watching opportunities.Sultan's Osprey Park provides easy access to nature trails and fish habitat. Take a quick side trip! Gold Bar is home to breath-taking Wallace Falls. Index is a wildly popular jumping off point for whitewater rafting on the… Read More >>>>
Experience Anacortes: Your Island Destination
Anacortes is the crown jewel of Fidalgo Island, easternmost of the San Juan Islands and jump-point to the rest of the world-renowned archipelago. Fidalgo, the drive-to island, is accessible by bridges from the mainland to the east and Whidbey Island to the south. It is home to a Washington State Ferry terminal, serving the San Juan Islands and Sidney/Victoria, British Columbia. Anacortes boasts recreational activities for all ages, interests and skill levels. Here you can enjoy sailing, power boating, whale watching, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, golf, camping, sport fishing, bird watching, beach… Read More >>>>
5 Ways to Discover Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan is a Washington original destination. Only here will you find four seasons of wine, sun, stunning natural beauty and adventures that you can tune to your own tastes. 50.5 miles of lake, surrounded by vineyards, mountains and small-town charm, promise an array of activities as unique as the people who come here. Here are the top five ways to truly discover the Lake Chelan Valley:Get out on the Lake: Paddle a kayak or canoe, take a boat ride, or float high above the pristine blue waters of Lake Chelan… Read More >>>>
The Making of a Bag- by Vermilyea Pelle
See how this handcrafted beauty came to be. ">http:// Read More >>>>
Fall Colors A Plenty!
The contrast between seasons on the Cascade Loop is sharp, and flashy Fall colors emerge from warm summer weather with a force each September/October. Depending on the year and the weather of course, travelers can expect to find vibrant gold larch in the higher elevations, brilliant red vine maple, blazing orange hardwoods and even a few stands of golden quaking aspen. Fall ushers in pleasantly cooler temperatures, perfect for grabbing a quick hike to seek out those truly unique photo opportunities. Rather not venture far? No worries! Plenty of brilliant… Read More >>>>
Deception Falls
You'd expect that even in the beauty-packed Cascade loop that you'd notice if you drove right over a six-story waterfall wouldn't you? But that's exactly what several thousand drivers do each day when they drive state route 20 west of Stevens Pass. Even the sign directing you to Deception Falls is so simple that you can't help but assume the experience can't possibly be much. So, it was with low expectations and on impulse my wife and I pulled into the parking lot for a 10-minute break. 30 minutes later our expectations were… Read More >>>>
Pete Freund Photography
Celebrate Pacific Northwest wildlife and landscapes along with local expert. Visit a complete gallery of current work on his Facebook page. CONTACT:    Read More >>>>
Langley's Seawall Park
Whidbey and Camano Islands have their own rhythm. There's the molten glow of glass being blown, bagels boiling, tractors and other farm equipment all over both islands, and a thousand artists prodding and cajoling discordant stuff into something that pleases and challenges the human spirit. All set to a background rhythm of nature at work. Read More >>>>
Wildlife Viewing: Bighorn Sheep
Just outside of Wenatchee we often encounter a herd of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) who call the Swakane Wildlife Area home. Bighorn sheep get their name from the large, curved horns on the males, or rams. The ewes (females) also have horns, but they are short, and only slightly curved. They are well known for their ability to climb high, steep, rocky areas, and the talus hillsides along the side of the road allow you opportunity to witness their agility. Read More >>>>
Visit Anacortes, by the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce
Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island (the most accessible island in the San Juan archipelago), is 90 miles between Seattle and Vancouver BC, and is the destination point for the San Juan Islands and International ferry runs for Washington State. Anacortes is a thriving seaside town with a past that mirrors the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you are planning a day trip or a vacation, Anacortes has something for everyone. Sailing, boating, fishing, crabbing, hiking or biking just to name a few. Immerse yourself in a stress-free island lifestyle, and enjoy… Read More >>>>
Wenatchee/Columbia River Valley
Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Entiat  Following the Wenatchee River, orchards flank the riverbanks and deliver travelers to the "Apple Capital of the World", Wenatchee. Numerous family-owned fruit stands dot the highway selling local fruit and produce in season. Wenatchee has also become a thriving wine destination, so look for boutique wineries and wine tasting rooms. Because Wenatchee is located at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, it naturally offers an abundance of water activities such as paddle boarding, swimming, fishing and boating during the warmer months. Winter welcomes ski, snowboard, snowshoe… Read More >>>>
Lake Chelan Valley
Chelan, Manson, StehekinLake Chelan is home to four seasons of wine, sun, stunning natural beauty and adventure! The 50-mile-long lake slices northwestward into the Cascade Mountains. As you drive into town, you'll immediately catch a view of the stunning lake, blanketed my acres of award-winning vineyards. Shoreside state parks and forest service campgrounds allow you to plan a boat trip of several days with overnight stops along the way. Along the steeper south shore, paved highway dead ends at 25 Mile Creek and the Lake Chelan State Park featuring camping, picnicking, water… Read More >>>>
Methow Valley
Pateros, Carlton, Twisp, Winthrop, MazamaThe Cascade Loop follows the Columbia River to Pateros, then swings northwestward to the Methow River Valley. This is the eastern gateway to the North Cascades Highway which is traditionally open mid-April through early to mid-November (weather/snow pack determines the closing and opening dates).Stop at Pateros for a riverfront picnic lunch. Neighboring Alta Lake State Park offers excellent trout fishing and secluded campsites. As you drive up the valley, pass fields of baled hay, big weathered barns,corrals full of horses and the jagged Cascades for a… Read More >>>>
North Cascades
Diablo, Newhalem, Marblemount, Rockport, Concrete The North Cascades highway (Highway 20) crosses Washington Pass at 5,477'and Rainy Pass at 4,860'. Pack a picnic and take any one of many short hikes starting just off the highway. Alpine Meadows all along this crest of the Cascades are resplendent with wildflowers in July and August. Overlooks above Ross and Diablo Lakes make excellent photo ops. The distinctive color of each lake (Ross is teal, Diablo is jade) is caused by finely ground rock dust suspended in the water and the… Read More >>>>
Skagit Valley & Fidalgo Island
Sedro-Woolley, Burlington, Mount Vernon, La Conner, Edison, AnacortesAs it reaches toward the Salish Sea from the North Cascades, the Skagit River has deposited a vast triangle of flood plain soil and nutrients to create some of the richest agricultural land in the Northwest. Dotted with farmhouses, heritage barns and more than 80,000 snow geese in the winter, the Skagit Valley is home to the largest commercial flower bulb industry outside of Holland. Beginning in March and continuing through May, the entire valley is one huge carpet of blooms backdropped by… Read More >>>>
Whidbey Scenic Isle Way
Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland, Langley, ClintonThe Whidbey Scenic Isle Way is the ninth and final region of the Cascade Loop, and is a state designated scenic byway in its own right. Extending across the entire length of Whidbey Island from Deception Pass to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal in Clinton, this region provides access to extraordinary scenic, historical and recreational experiences. Take in placid bays, forested shorelines, rural inland landscapes by car or bicycle.Whidbey Island and Camano Island are the two largest islands that make up Island County. The name reflects… Read More >>>>
Seattle-Gateway to the Cascade Loop!
Seattle is the Gateway to the Cascade Loop!The lion's share of Cascade Loop travelers start their journey by flying in to Sea-Tac International Airport, renting a vehicle and heading to Seattle for a day of iconic city sights, sounds and flavors. Sea-Tac International Airport is an easy hub from which to start your journey as it services both domestic and long-haul international flights. Whether you are flying in from the East Coast or Great Britain, accessing the Cascade Loop via Sea-Tac International Airport and Seattle, is pretty slick!  Just book… Read More >>>>