5 Not-to-Miss Scenic Drives in Washington

Explore These Breathtaking Byways in Washington

Sometimes the road itself is the destination. If you’re ready to get out and explore, check out these short scenic drives in Washington state. Each offers unique dazzling views and the opportunity to connect with nature even if you don’t get our of your car.

Tip: Click on View Road Trip Details to map your drive, get insider tips into what to see and do, and even book hotels along the way.  

1. Chinook Pass Scenic Byway

Forested mountain peaks, granite protrusions and the Emmons Glacier give this area a distinctly alpine feel. A number of rivers run along SR 410 as it meanders through the sub-alpine meadows and lodgepole pine woods of the Gifford Pinchot and Wenatchee National Forests. The route also offers excellent access to Mount Rainier National Park, which began reopening recently. So make sure you check before you go, if you are planning on visiting the park.

Photo: iStock

2. Hood Canal Scenic Route

The Hood Canal Scenic Route (SR 106) traces the lower extension of the L-shaped Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Beginning in the town of Union in the “Great Bend” area, the byway follows the southern shore of the canal to its end near Belfair.

Photo: iStock

3. Yakima Scenic Byway

This scenic drive begins in Toppenish, a city located within the approximately 1.2 million-acre Yakama Nation Reservation. Views of the Cascade Mountains can be seen as you make your way toward the Columbia River, the natural border between Washington and Oregon.

Photo by George Ostertag, Alamy

4. Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway

Carved into a rocky hillside, two-lane Chuckanut Drive features steep slopes and exhilarating curves with breathtaking vistas of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. The Olympic Mountain Range and Puget Sound are visible from the log-strewn shoreline at Larrabee State Park. SR 11 is particularly scenic in autumn when maples and alders blaze with color

Photo: iStock

5. Whidbey Scenic Isle Way

Two state parks, Mukilteo and Deception Pass, are excellent locations to enjoy views of Puget Sound, but please keep physical distancing in mind. The Olympic Mountains and the Cascades, on the mainland, line the horizon above the sparkling waters surrounding Whidbey Island. Whidbey Scenic Isle Way winds its way along the length of the narrow island just northeast of Seattle.

Photo: iStock 

1. Chinook Pass Scenic Byway

Forested mountain peaks, granite protrusions and the Emmons Glacier give this area a distinctly alpine feel. A number of rivers run along SR 410 as it meanders through the sub-alpine meadows and lodgepole pine woods of the Gifford Pinchot and Wenatchee National Forests. The route also offers excellent access to Mount Rainier National Park, which began reopening recently. So make sure you check before you go, if you are planning on visiting the park.

Photo: iStock

2. Hood Canal Scenic Route

The Hood Canal Scenic Route (SR 106) traces the lower extension of the L-shaped Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Beginning in the town of Union in the “Great Bend” area, the byway follows the southern shore of the canal to its end near Belfair.

Photo: iStock

3. Yakima Scenic Byway

This scenic drive begins in Toppenish, a city located within the approximately 1.2 million-acre Yakama Nation Reservation. Views of the Cascade Mountains can be seen as you make your way toward the Columbia River, the natural border between Washington and Oregon.

Photo by George Ostertag, Alamy

4. Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway

Carved into a rocky hillside, two-lane Chuckanut Drive features steep slopes and exhilarating curves with breathtaking vistas of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. The Olympic Mountain Range and Puget Sound are visible from the log-strewn shoreline at Larrabee State Park. SR 11 is particularly scenic in autumn when maples and alders blaze with color

Photo: iStock

5. Whidbey Scenic Isle Way

Two state parks, Mukilteo and Deception Pass, are excellent locations to enjoy views of Puget Sound, but please keep physical distancing in mind. The Olympic Mountains and the Cascades, on the mainland, line the horizon above the sparkling waters surrounding Whidbey Island. Whidbey Scenic Isle Way winds its way along the length of the narrow island just northeast of Seattle.

Photo: iStock 

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips. 

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