Friday, September 9, 2011

Chinook Pass Day Trip

The forecast for the weekend is warm and clear (upper 70s with cloudless skies in Western Washington, and in the 90s in Eastern Washington, according to the weather channel).  If you are looking for a breathtaking day trip, why not head toward Chinook Pass?

Google Maps says it's about an hour and a half from Enumclaw to Chinook Pass.  Along the way, Crystal Mountain boasts a gondola that offers spectacular views of Mt Rainier.  While you're there you can lunch at the Summit House Restaurant, or, if you prefer, picnic at Lake Tipsoo.

Lake Tipsoo
You can turn around and come on home, or you might want to continue east on Highway 410 toward Naches.  It's just another hour or so, and as we passed through we saw a fruit stand that was selling fresh peaches for $8 a box!  The changing scenery as we entered the more arid terrain on the east side of the mountains has a beauty all its own, especially the basalt columns that we saw along the Tieton River near Naches and Rimrock, where we went for Wedding Camp.  Whether the result of flooding or volcano or both, I'm not sure, but the rocks are indeed fascinating.

If you can't go this weekend, I understand Chinook Pass is alive with fall colors in early to mid-October.  Just know that the pass is closed for the winter.

Find a larger version of this map here

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