Distance: 422 miles
Time to complete: 10+ hours with lunch stop
A long but rewarding day ride through the North Cascades National Park, the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) passes through Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, the Oakanogan National Forest, and through small towns like Newhalem and Winthrop. Only open during the summer, expect some areas of congestion on the weekends on both sides of Washington Pass.
Winthrop is a great stop for lunch. This Western-themed town has at least a dozen food options and is popular with bikers and ‘cagers’ (folks in cars) alike.
On this day, we then took the Methow Valley Highway (Hwy 153), following the Methow River south to Pateros,
and then followed the Columbia River south to Wenatchee along Hwy 97. An alternative route which I plan to explore next time, Hwy 97A, travels into Chelan and past Lake Chelan, then south along the western bank of the Columbia river.
From Wenatchee, we followed Hwy 2 west to Leavenworth, a tourist town modeled after Bavaria and a place I have visited many times (one such trip),
over Stevens Pass …
and back into the greater Seattle area.
(1) This ride covers a variety of distinct geographies and the weather may be quite varied. Eastern Washington will be drier and less temperate than the Seattle area, the mountains can be cold at higher elevations. Be prepared.
(2) In the early Spring and late Fall, check road conditions prior to departure.