North Cascades Scenic Highway


We are back in the good ol’ US of A! We arrived in Washington State and have been wandering around North Cascades Scenic Highway and National Park. We found an awesome brewery, an endearing Old West town, a winery with an amazing view, and adventured on one of the best hikes we’ve taken the entire trip!

North Cascades Scenic Hwy (2)
North Cascades Scenic Highway
Winthrop, Washington (9)
Town of Winthrop, Washington
Benson Vineyards
Benson Vineyards
Maple Pass Hike in North Cascades National Park
Maple Pass Trail

Route from Jasper National Park to North Cascades

We drove roughly 280 miles from Jasper National Park to Kamloops for an overnight before heading to Washington. We stayed at Days Inn which had free Wi-Fi and hot breakfast. I was in heaven. The next day we drove over the border past flourishing vineyards, orchards and many fruit stands to Winthrop.

Stepping Back in Time in the Town of Winthrop

What a pleasant surprise Winthrop was. We booked our campground here because of the proximity to the North Cascades National Park and had no idea the town had such character!

A man named Otto Wagner had a dream of restoring Winthrop back to the original booming mining town of the 1890s. That dream was accomplished in the 1970s with wooden boardwalks and old-fashioned building facades. This is what I expected Deadwood, South Dakota to look like…

Town of Winthrop

Winthrop, Washington (8)

Winthrop, Washington (10)

Winthrop, Washington (2)

Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop

The Old Schoolhouse Brewery has it all: good beer, outdoor patio (on a river), live music, friendly staff and tasty pub food. It’s a must-do in Winthrop even if you do not enjoy craft beer. It’s a lively atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists alike.

North Cascades Scenic Highway

Winthrop, Washington (5)

Winthrop, Washington (4)


Heather-Maple Pass Loop in North Cascades

The Maple Pass Loop hike is one of the best hikes we’ve taken to date on our road trip. It’s a 7-mile loop with a 2,100-foot elevation gain. If you visit North Cascade National Park, put this on your list of must-do hikes.

We recommend going counterclockwise and you will be rewarded with unrelenting beauty along the entire route. At 6,995 feet high, Maple Pass positions you smack dab in the middle of dramatic 360-degree views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains.

North Cascades Scenic Highway

Maple Pass (15)

North Cascades Scenic Highway

North Cascades Scenic Highway

North Cascades Scenic Highway

North Cascades Scenic Highway

North Cascades Scenic Highway

Maple Pass (7)

North Cascades Scenic Highway

Lake Chelan and Benson Vineyards Winery

South of Winthrop, along Hwy 97 is the recreational Lake Chelan. The area is dotted with orchards, wineries, restaurants and hotels. We were in search of a vineyard with the best views. I’d say we found it at Benson Vineyards Winery in Manson!

North Cascades Scenic Highway

DSC_0995 (Copy)

Benson Vineyards (2)

North Cascades Scenic Byway Drive

We were greeted to the Cascades with local farms, lovely overlooks, soaring mountains, and glowing blue lakes. The east section more impressive than the west, Winthrop was a great base for driving the northern section of the Cascade Loop.

Methow Valley (2)
Methow Valley
North Cascades Scenic Highway
Methow Valley
North Cascades Scenic Hwy (1)
Washington Pass
Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell
North Cascades Scenic Highway
Diablo Lake

And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 13 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces and 13 national parks. You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Miles Driven: 675, Total Road Trip Miles Driven: 6,805, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.72

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Next: Adorable German Town of Leavenworth

North Cascades Scenic Highway

We loved exploring North Cascades Scenic Byway! What’s your favorite scenic drive?

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

5 Responses

  1. Penny

    The one thing that struck me is the blues are so blue and the greens are so green! Odd choice of words but when you live in India the idea of a pollution free life is but a dream!

  2. ada

    Washington State looks amazing! and because of your stunning photos I am angry with myself I skipped that state on my road trip in America! Looks like you had fantastic time! Great post !

  3. Sydney Zaruba

    Awesome!! I will be hitting up Jasper this summer on our way to Alaska!! This looks like an absolute blast and your photos are stunning!

  4. Promise Chika Maxwell

    Interesting things to do on the North Cascades Scenic Highway when caught on a road trip. Photos are indeed beautiful!

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