Chinook & White Pass Loop

Trip Date: 6-2-2007

Features:

  • MT Rainier
  • Chinook Pass
  • White Pass
  • Miner Drive-in (Home of the Miner burger)
  • Roads Side River views
  • Road Side Water Falls
  • Deer & Elk

Hazards:

  • Rock Slide Areas
  • Deer & Elk


Chinook & White Pass Loop Video 1
MT. Rainer WA

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 22.7 MB)

Chinook & White Pass Loop Video 2
MT. Rainer WA

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 22.3 MB)

Trip Details:

 

Chinook & White Pass

 I had 2 main goals in mind when I put this ride together. I have been wanting to ride Chinook pass and I have been wanting to eat a double Miner burger. Since I didn't want to ride back the same way I went, I decided to return via White Pass. I invited a friend of mine and I didn't have to twist his arm when I mentioned riding 130 miles to eat a Miner burger. He lives out in Maple Valley. Instead of meeting him along the route I decided to ride out to his place and we would leave from there. This would add 30+ miles and push the ride over 350 miles.

We started the ride around 9:45 AM and made our way  up the Black Diamond Enumclaw road. The weather was awesome and just a bit over 70 degrees. We made our way on to 410 and headed toward MT Rainier. I was pretty jazzed about this ride. Chinook opened up just a couple weeks ago and I knew we were in for a treat as there was still allot of snow at the pass. As we approached the mountain just outside of the National park we were treated with the presence of a cow Elk as she lumbered across the highway. Watch closely and you will see her in the video. You have to watch closely as she is 50 yards ahead of me.

The ride up to the Chinook was filled with scenic views of Rivers, streams and road side water falls. As we road on we passed in and out of shaded areas of forest. We were not in any hurry and the breathe taking scenery prompted us to stop and take photo's. As we neared the summit we treated to a spectacular view of MT Rainier. There were approximately 10 people lined up along side the road. Most of them were taking pictures and the remainder were just staring at the mountain. We did the same. It was a great opportunity to take some photo's and rest a bit. As we climbed in elevation the air cooled dramatically. My ST1300 seemed to just flow through the Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads best hamburgers burgers MT Rainier Chinook Pass Washingtonturns as if it were on rails. It wasn't long and we started seeing the first traces of road side snow. Within a couple more miles the entire ground (road side) was covered. As we were almost at the summit I was amazed at just how deep the snow was. The roads were perfect but the only way to get out in the snow was to climb a 4 foot snow bank. As we swept through the twisties I couldn't help but grin ear to ear/ It was really a cool site to be navigating turns with perfectly dry pavement and several feet of snow on the sides. When we arrived at the summit we pulled over to take some photo's and take in the view. I really don't remember ever seeing this area looking as beautiful as it did today.  Probably because I have never ridden Chinook this early in the season. This ride will be a must do early June every rear from now on. Our short rest lasted about 15 minutes and we were back on the road cresting the summit and heading down the other side. Mile by mile the snow diminished and the surroundings began to take on the "Eastern WA" look. The trees changed and the green foliage began to disappear. The reason I like riding routes that cover both sides of the mountain is it provides a wide variety of vegetation and landscape. I couldn't believe how quickly the temperature climbed as we descended. In no time my gauge was reading a warm 81 degrees. The surrounds began to look like desert area. As we made our way east I was really getting hungry. A couple more photo stops and a few more miles, we were riding on US 12 heading towards Yakima. It was really getting hot. My gauge was reading 91 degrees and soon climbed to 94.  We turned right onto hwy 82 and soon would be eating a Miner burger. As we approached theRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads best hamburgers burgers Miner's Drive-In Yakimas Washington Miner drive-in our speed was reduced as we were riding through town and I could really feel the heat. As we sat in front of the last red light between us and the Miner burger, I could help but wish it was 10 degrees cooler. I'm one of those folks who feel allot more comfortable when temperatures are in the low to mid 80's. Within 30 yards of the now green light, we pulled in to the Miners Drive-in and I was hungry!

The meal was exactly what I expected, delicious! We took our time consuming the food and chatting mostly because we were avoiding entering the heat as it more then likely went up in temperature as we ate. It was only 2:30 PM and it would not peak in temp until about 4:00 PM. As we exited the diner we stepped out into a heat wave. It was time to dump the riding jacket and grab a new water bottle out of the trunk. We made our way through town and back on to US 12. As we were riding through Naches my temp Gauge was reading 97 degrees. I couldn't wait to get up near White pass as the altitude would bring cooler temperatures. I really enjoy the section of road leading up to White Pass on the Eastern side. This stretch of road is filled with twisties and scenic river views which led to several stops for photo's. As we approached the White Pass summit I was amazed that there was hardly any snow on the ground. I rRoad-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads best hamburgers burgers US 12 White Pass Washingtonoad through here about a month ago and folks were still skiing. We stopped for a rest at the summit and to our surprise we heard several booms. The sky west of us was covered by dark grey clouds and it looked as if we were going to ride through a thunder storm. I have to say I thought this was a weird mix of weather but the, this type of thing is known to occur in the Washington mountains. I decided be  it warm I would put on my rain gear anyway. I forgot to put on my pants and in no time we were riding in a full on squall bringing very heavy rain mixed with hail. I could see the clouds turning to white up ahead so I wasn't to worried. We past a group of  Harley riders who pulled off to the side of the road. They were not dressed for this type of weather and were getting soaked. I thought it was odd for them to stop and not ride through it into better weather. To each his own! Soon we were riding in sunny warm weather again. We stopped at a convenience store and talked to some other riders. They too paid their dues to mother nature and were surprised as none of this was in the weather forecast.

As we rode on we soon were riding through Packwood and Randle heading towards Morton. Every time I ride out in this area I always think about buying some land and building or land with a house on it. This is one of my favorite places. Close to MT rainier, great scenery and property taxes are less. Perfect combination for retirement. It wasn't long and Morton came and went. 15 miles later we stopped in at Elbe to get me another ice cold Dr. Pepper and take some Photo's. My buddy and I had a conversation about Goldwing's. He may be in the hunt for a new bike and I was trying to sell him on a wing. From this point on His route would deviate from mine as he had to make his way back to Maple Valley. We said our goodbye's  and headed west on hwy 7 until he turned off on the Eatonville road that would take him home. I watched him turn off and then turned my attention to Alder lake and the twisties in front of me. Navigating the twisties in this area is nothing short of a blast. But all good things come to an end. Soon I was all out of the good twisted stuff and heading down the normal roads towards stop lights and traffic.  When this ride was all said and done I was extremely happy that I rode this route on this day. As I stated prior, I will definitely ride this route early in the season next year. 

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Tacoma, Washington - United States (USA)
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