Stevens Pass Greenway on the Cascade Loop
The Stevens Pass Greenway, a designated National Scenic Byway, runs through two National Forests in the North Cascades Mountain Range: the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Enjoy rivers, lakes, hiking, mountain-climbing, scenic outlooks, campgrounds and winter recreation.
The Scenic Byway forms the southern section of the Cascade Loop. This scenic loop drive takes you from ocean beaches to Centeral Washington orchards to the Columbia River valleys to one of the highest Cascade Mountain passes.
Start your trip on Highway 2 right here in beautiful Monroe. Pass through chartreuse farm fields outside of Monroe as you head toward jagged peaks on the not-too-distant horizon! Follow the Skykomish River as you continue on the Stevens Pass Greenway. It winds through the western slopes of the Cascade mountains toward a series of small historic mountain towns: Sultan, Startup, Gold Bar, Index and Skykomish. Do you need to charge your electric vehicle? We have three EV charging stations right here in Monroe. Be sure to stop by our Visitor Information Center and pick up a printed copy of any of our guides, maps, attraction info, restaurant and lodging info and more.
Plan to throw on your walking shoes once you arrive in Gold Bar, and spend a couple of hours checking out Wallace Falls State Park. The falls are world-renowned and offer a variety of walks to suit each level of fitness and comfort on the trail. In spring and early summer, the falls are rushing and the Skykomish River becomes an immensely popular whitewater rafting destination as snow melts away from the granite peaks overhead. Fishermen line the riverbanks, and drift boats float the more tranquil waters that surround prized fishing holes. Hikers and backpackers (many are actually Pacific Crest Trail hikers) explore alpine lakes and miles upon miles of alpine trails. Continue driving east and visit the tiny town of Index, nestled on the banks of the Skykomish River, just 1 mile off Highway 2. Index is the home of Outdoor Adventure Center, a family-owned whitewater rafting and kayaking outfitter. Are you a rock climber? Get your climbing gear ready and hit up the famous Index Town Wall, considered to be one of the nation’s premier rock climbing destinations. Once you’re back on Highway 2 be sure to stop at the Espresso Chalet, home to Harry from the movie "Harry and the Hendersons," filmed in part right at this very spot! Look up and see majestic Mount Index right behind the parking area. Bridal Veil Falls are those gorgeous falls right below the ominous peak. For hikers with time to spare, this is a gorgeous hike and can also take you to Lake Serene along the way. Once you’re caffeine needs have been attended to, drive on toward the historic railroad town of Skykomish. The Cascadia Inn is located here — a great place to grab an excellent handmade diner-style meal served by friendly locals. Looking for a perfect spot to picnic? Deception Falls is located right off the highway, a fabulous spot to enjoy the falls and for photographers to practice those slowww shutter speeds!
Next up, ascend 4,061-foot Stevens Pass. The views are mind-blowing here year-round! The ski and snowboard resort operates during winter months. During the summer months, it transforms itself into a mountain bike park. Autumn (particularly the first weeks of October) welcomes leaf-peepers from around the world, all eager for brilliant hues of gold and orange. Be prepared to encounter snow when traveling in the winter! Check mountain pass conditions at wsdot.com/traffic/passes.
The Stevens Pass Greenway ends once you reach Coles Corner, where you can take state Route 207 to Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake or Plain. Prepare for more mountainous beauty on the next leg of your journey - Leavenworth/Cascade Foothills!
The Stevens Pass Greenway provides eco-friendly drivers access to multiple electric vehicle charging stations.
Whether driving, hiking, skiing, fishing or climbing, the Cascade loop is your place for outdoor fun! Here are some links to help you plan your trip:
Get out and explore on foot! Because the landscape and environment change so radically every 100 miles or so along the byway, hikers love vacationing here and taking in a whole bunch of wildly differing hikes. Walk along beaches on Whidbey Island, through tulip and daffodil fields in the Skagit Valley, along alpine ridge lines in the North Cascades National Park, or simply through some of the most scenic, mountain territory you'll find in the Cascade Mountains of Stevens Pass and the Leavenworth area. There is a LOT of diversity in the type of hikes as well as level of difficulty. Some hikes may be mild, requiring a modest level of fitness and/or technical skill, whereas full-on mountaineering-level expeditions are accessible as well.
Not surprisingly, the Stevens Pass Greenway is home to all those jagged emerald green peaks and cascading waterfalls, is also home to a huge variety of hikes . Below are a handful of our favorites:
Bridal Veil Falls
Iron Goat Trail
Wallace Falls State Park
Index Town Wall
Surprise and Glacier Lakes
The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau’s Hiking Guide offers the best 30 hikes from urban to rural and adventure options!
The Central Cascades offer an extensive array of climbing activities less than an hour from Monroe. Climbers can have breakfast at sea level and enjoy lunch at an elevation of 5,000 to 7,000 feet on any number of peaks within the Central Cascades.
The Index Town Wall
Rock climbers from far and wide travel to climb the amazing Index Town Wall. The Town Wall is a group of steep granite cliffs. The Wall features several challenging cracks and a surprising number of face climbs, with hidden edges and overhangs.
Long, Easy Routes: Climbing the States' Tallest Bolted Moderates, In Washington
Cascade Loop Climbing Mini-Documentary
Among the old growth and plentiful snowfall of the Cascade Crest, Stevens Pass is a community of adventure-driven skiers and riders ranging from first-timers to seasoned veterans. Within their 1,125 acres of skiable terrain, the feeling of family extends from those finding their confidence on our approachable groomed terrain to the heart-pumping glades and bowls of Cowboy and Big Chief Mountains.
Stevens Pass is a place that feeds our thirst for adventure. While each person experiences Stevens Pass uniquely, we do have one thing in common: we are all part of the snow-centric Stevens Pass family, and we are pure Pacific Northwest. We have a shared passion for skiing and riding with friends, family and even that random person sitting next to you on the lift.
The passion for what they do is palpable and shared among all visitors at this unique mountain that somehow always feels like home. Families have learned here, children have grown here, and come back with children of their own to pass on the sheer joy of skiing and riding here at the crest of the Cascades.
Be sure to stop by Pacific Mountain Sports in Downtown Monroe before you head up the mountain! This locally owned and operated store specializes in Ski Service, Sales, Rentals and Fittings.
Stevens Pass Info
Because the Cascade Loop is home to a LOT of rivers, lakes, streams and the Puget Sound, it's safe to say one can do a whole lot of fishing here!
From Monroe when driving along the Stevens Pass Greenway you'll notice real fast that you are traveling alongside one amazingly beautiful river, the Skykomish. Most of the locals refer to it as the "Sky River", and home to some really nice fishing. Access the river from a handful of different locations and check out the latest reports to see what folks are catching.
Purchase your fishing licenses at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Licensing. Kids 14 and younger do not need a fishing license to fish in the state of Washington. Anglers 15 years of age are required to have a youth fishing license allowing them to fish in fresh and saltwater. Anglers of any age who fish for Salmon, Pacific halibut, Sturgeon, Steelhead or Dungeness crab must also have a catch record card in their possession while fishing.
Cyclists and mountain bikers have huge diversity in the types of riding they can do on the Loop. Some folks will bring their own bikes, and others will rent as they go. Some want to ride on flat, clear roadways while others want to bounce their way down single-track in the middle of the forest. Whatever your cup of tea, take a moment to check out each region of the Loop and put together your dream getaway on two wheels!
Be sure to stop by Pacific Mountain Sports in Downtown Monroe before you head up the mountain! This locally owned and operated store specializes Bike Service and Rentals.
Washington State Bicycle Laws
Bicycle Helmet Laws
Safety Tips for Bicycling
State Bicycle Map
Local Bicycle Maps and Trails
Cascade Bicycle Club
WSDOT Traffic Cameras
WSDOT Projects Along US 2
Stevens Pass (Mountain Pass info)
Most State and Federally operated public lands (parks, trails, forests, wildlife preserves, etc.) will require that you purchase and display the correct permit or pass during your visit. To determine which permits or passes you need, consider if the land says it is State or Federal/National.
Federal lands such as National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Historic Sites, Bureau of Land Management lands, and places managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. Permit Needed: An America the Beautiful Interagency Pass gets named passholders into all of these sites. A Northwest Forest Recreation Day Pass allows trailhead parking on national forests for $5/car for one day. The pass is available at National Forest offices, visitor centers, ranger districts, via private vendors or online.
State lands such as Washington State Parks, Department of Natural Resources lands and Department of Fish and Wildlife trailheads. Permit Needed: The Discover Pass gets named pass holders into all of these sites. For one-day use only, purchase your discover Pass Day Pass for $10/car. For a complete year’s worth of use, purchase the Discover Pass for $30 online or in person from any of nearly 600 recreational license vendors where state fishing and hunting licenses are sold.