North Cascades Highway & Stevens Pass Loop
Day 1

Trip Date: 8-23-2009

Features:

  • Snoqualmie Falls
  • North Cascade Mountains
  • Steam Train - Town of Skagit
  • Endless Twisties
  • Ross Dam & Lake
  • Diablo Dam & lake
  • Gorge Dam & Lake
  • Skagit River
  • Snoqualmie River
  • Multiple Large Roadside Falls (Early Spring)
  • Winthrop - Western Town
  • 3 Fingers Jack - Eatery in Winthrop
  • Columbia River
  • Leavenworth - Bavarian Town

Hazards:

  • Falling Rock
  • Narrow Shoulders
  • Deer
  • Extreme Heat Past Winthrop


North Cascades Highway & Stevens Pass Loop
Day 1
16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 24.2 MB)

Trip Details:

Day 1 (367 Garmin Miles)

My last trip over the North Cascades riding this specific route was in 2007. I was due to make this road trip. long over due. I have been planning a route that would do just that and then some. Good warm weather but not too hot is in order for this next ride. The weather was suppose to bring temps in the high low 80's for western WA and upper 80's for eastern WA this weekend. I booked our Lodging at the World Mark Resort in Leavenworth WA. Our last stay in Leavenworth was at the Bavarian at $156 a night. Since I booked bonus time with World mark we got a 2 bedroom 2 full bath condo with full kitchen for $72 a night.   

Just like the last trip,  I was up early and jazzed to make this ride. One of the motivators behind all the excitement was the fact that when I was a youngster, my parents used to take us to Sun Lakes and Chelan every summer. My dad had a thing for highway 20 and after this ride,  I can see exactly why. Lets fast forward my ride north on Hwy 18 to my buddies place. I was a bit late due to circumstances out of my control.

Once on the rode we headed north bound on Hwy 18 for 17.3 miles  to Fall City. This is a great place to stop and see Snoqualmie Falls. We didn't as we planned on stopping on our way home. We continued onward riding the Carnation Duval Rd for 23 miles riding through Carnation and Duval to hwy 203. The sun was attempting to break through the clouds and we enjoyed every sun break we were given as we continued 9.9 miles on Hwy 203 to Monroe where we made a left at the Hwy 2 junction. Hwy 2 was a short 9.8 miles to our next right on to Hwy 9 not far from lake Stevens. The next 23 miles of Hwy 9 were laid back and enjoyable. I just turned on the cruise control and enjoyed the scenery until we approached McMurry where we enjoyed a nice view of McMurry Lake followed by a few twists and turns as we departed the lake. We were starting to see a bit more sun and could only hope for more. Highway 9 took us another 16.5 miles as we rode past Big lake and Clear lake and on to the hwy 20 junction. We turned right on to Hwy 20 and rode into Sedro Woolley where we made a fuel stop. Once fueled we continued on hwy 20 another 46 miles to the north Cascades North Cascades highway mountains hwy 20 sr-20 20 national park HDR motorcycle rides roads routes road-quest.comNational Park. During which we paralleled the Skagit River. It seemed to disappear many times only to pop out and give us a great view as we rounded turns. This is the point of the ride things start getting really cool. We rode into the park and enjoyed many stops for photos. The first was the Old #6 steam train in the town of  Newhalem. This is pat of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. Not far past the train is the Gorge Lake Dam. This trip we arrived to find literally no water in the river. The spill gates were closed. Do not go down the rocks into the river basin as the spill gates open with no warning and allot of water comes down through there. Signs are posted near the road. Our last visit the water was raging and I couldn't believe the volume of water that was shooting out of the spillways. It looked like a giant fire hose! The distance from the Park entrance and our next stop, Diablo Lake, was 16 miles. If you haven't seen Diablo Lake or Gorge lake their waters are turquoise in color due to sentiment. We stopped at a couple turnouts and snagged some good pictures. What a cool looking lake. The ride kept getting better as we made our way 65 scenic packed miles through straights and sweepers and twisties. My last trip was early in the season so we had some snow up on the mountains. It was cool to see them completely dry as they Diablo Lake North Cascades highway mountains hwy 20 sr-20 20 national park HDR motorcycle rides roads routes road-quest.comhad a bright sandy brown color to them in areas. The clouds were mostly dissipated and the sun was lighting up the hills and peaks. We made plenty stops for photos in this area. Soon we crested the pass and headed down the eastern side. There were allot of riders heading toward us as we made out way through the pass and down the other side. Once down the mountain we were soon riding in the desert. It was a warm 84 degrees as we made our way to our next stop at Winthrop WA. Winthrop is a tourist attraction with a old western town look. If your looking for a decent burger I recommend Two Finger Jacks. We got a quick bite to eat as we wanted to keep pushing on as it was getting to be about 2:30 PM.

Leaving Winthrop we rode 10.7 miles to hwy 153 through just past Twisp. the next 30.7 miles were all desert and we could see a giant mushroom cloud looming in the distance. We learned later it was from the Okanogan forest fire that started burning. Due to the fire hwy 2 in that area was shut down. Although we were riding through desert terrain there was a small river called the Methow River paralleling the rode. We soon turned on to hwy 97 which meant we were getting close to our destination. We both were getting tired and hungry. The Caesar salad I had in Winthrop was not cutting it at all. Once on hwy 97 we rode on 19 miles to Chelan. This trip I planned the North Cascades highway mountains hwy 20 sr-20 20 national park HDR 2007 Honda Goldwing  motorcycle rides roads routes road-quest.comroute so we rode on the west side of Pateros Lake most of the way to Chelan. We made a quick stop then continued on riding around the south end of Chelan Lake. Chelan is 55 miles in length and is at it's deepest point, 1,486 feet deep. The lake is the 3rd deepest lake in our country and the 24th deepest lake in the world. For the next 34 miles we rode parallel to Entiat Lake. The view was spectacular. We were riding in the shade of the sheer rock cliffs and the sun lit up the rock hills on the opposite side. We soon intersected Hwy 2 on which we rode the remaining 19.5 miles to Leavenworth. I always enjoy riding through Peshastin as the roads are lined with fruit orchards. One farms fruit stand had one of the largest US flags I have seen. The flag is fasten to a giant flag pool near the road side. The constant winds in the area keep it proudly displayed. Soon we rounded the bend and rode into Leaven worth about 6 PM. We got ourselves checked in to the condo then headed to Safeway for a couple thick steaks to throw on the Barbeque Grill that was on our porch. We couldn't have had a better days ride and we followed it up with some good grilled beef. Want more?

Day 2 - Stevens Pass Hwy 2 report is under construction...

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