Did you know there are four Scenic Byways converging in the Yakima Valley? Located in the center of Washington State, the Yakima Valley can be reached by traveling on one of four of America's Byways®. There are 150 scenic byways in the USA as designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. America's Byways include the National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. Designated All-American Roads must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities, archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. This means they have features that do not exist elsewhere in the United States and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations.
1. The Chinook Pass Scenic Byway (Hwy 410) is one of two All American Roads in Washington State. This high elevation mountain pass, at 5,430 feet, is closed during the winter due to avalanche danger. This year the pass will open on April 3, 2015, one of the earliest openings ever.
Recognized for spectacular scenic views of Mt. Rainier, this Byway travels through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park. The pass offers a wonderful road trip to the valley and is a popular ride for motorcyclists. There are campgrounds, outdoor fun and recreation along the route. Travel time from Enumclaw to Naches, WA, in the Yakima Valley is 2 hours, 18 minutes (96.6 Miles.)
2. The White Pass Scenic Byway is designated a National Scenic Byway, 110 miles long and reaching an elevation of 4,500. This road is open year round and the White Pass Ski Area is located at the summit. Beginning in Mary’s Corner at Interstate 5, the byway continues East into the Yakima Valley at Naches, WA. You will find camping, wilderness hiking, fishing, rock climbing, boating snowmobiling, and more outdoor recreational opportunities along the byway. From the White Pass Byway you may also connect to the Chinook Pass Scenic Byway, just east of Packwood WA on Cayuse Pass(Hwy 123), and continue to the Yakima Valley.
3. Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway enters the Yakima Valley from the north following the Yakima River from Ellensburg. This is a 22 mile scenic drive along a river known for it Blue Ribbon catch and release fly fishing. There are 4 Bureau of Land management campgrounds, which make this area their largest land holding in the state. Camping, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, marathon race, river rafting are some of the recreation opportunities. There is even a suspension bridge across the river to a hike up an adjacent canyon at the Umtanum Recreation Area. The canyon enters the Yakima Valley at Selah, WA. Taking the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway is a 2 hour,15 min. drive from Seattle to Yakima.
4. Yakama Scenic Byway enters the Yakima Valley from the South. Notice the change in spelling, “Y-A-K-A-M-A” is the original Native American spelling for the Yakama Nation. This drive takes you from the Columbia River on Highway 97, North through the Yakama Nation Reservation. You will travel through the wheat fields of Goldendale, WA, near the Goldendale Observatory, through forested land onto the reservation. Along the way you may see the wild horses on the hills. The Yakama Nation Cultural Center, Yakama Nation Museum, Legends Casino and the Yakama Nation RV Park are all located in the city of Toppenish.
Pick up your Washington State Scenic Byways Guide at The Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.