Few fully know the intense and rugged beauty of the North Cascades – jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 700 glaciers… It’s a thrilling ride through the heart of Washington State. “The Loop” is 440 miles long, and is as diverse as it is magnificent!
Day 1– Portland, OR to Wenatchee, WA (L)
Enjoy the scenery as we make our way through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. We’ll make a few stops along the way including Multnomah Falls… According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. It cascades more than 600-feet down a sheer cliff face amidst a lush and verdant forest. A cool mist emanates from the falls so jackets and shoes with traction are recommended. The Multnomah Falls Lodge was built in 1925 to serve visitors. Today, the historic structure (made of every type of rock found in the gorge) houses a gift shop with plenty of postcards, unbeatable views of the falls, and a US Forest Service Information Center. Though the hill is fairly steep, the famous Benson Bridge is just ¼ mile walk from the Lodge for those who are so inclined. Lunch at a favorite- Cousins Restaurant in the Dalles… featuring great home style cooking with the freshest ingredients. We’ll continue to our home for the night the quant town of Wenatchee… Your evening is free to explore… we are in great location in the heart of downtown Wenatchee… the hotel also has a great restaurant on the 9th floor that features great food and views. The Coast Hotel Wenatchee (L)
Day 2 – Wenatchee, WA to Winthrop, WA
Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast the hotel this morning. We’re off to Dry Falls visitors center… Dry Falls is one of the great geological wonders of North America. Carved by Ice Age floods that long ago disappeared, the former waterfall is now a stark cliff, 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. In its heyday, the waterfall was four times the size of Niagara Falls. Today, it overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife. The park’s dramatic landscape was formed by Ice Age floods that swept through the area 15,000 years ago. The park and the interesting exhibits at Dry Falls Visitor Center offer many opportunities for people to learn about this unusual landscape.
Enjoy more great scenery as we make our way to Grand Coulee Dam Visitors Center where we’ll learn about their Mission/Vision… Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River. Today, the Grand Coulee is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, bringing water to more than 31 million people and providing one out of five Western farmers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60% of the nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch on our way to our home for the next 2 nights, the spectacular Sun Mountain Lodge. Your evening is free to enjoy this beautiful mountain-top resort. The award winning dining room features stunning views and the freshest cuisine. The Wolf Creek Bar & Grill offers lighter, less expensive fare in a relaxed setting. The Lodge also features a wrap-around deck with fantastic views of the Methow Valley. Enjoy the Resort – they have an outdoor pool and many lovely trails to explore… They also have a spa, library, game room and more… Sun Mountain Lodge (B, L)
Day 3 – Winthrop, WA – Local Touring
Enjoy the views and a scrumptious breakfast at the resort in their dining room. Next tour the famous North Cascades Smoke Jumper Base, the birthplace of smoke jumping. The Forest Service began experimental trials in the fall of 1939. These early jumps showed that firefighters could safely parachute into rough timbered mountains to tackle a fire before it got out of control. Today, almost 400 smokejumpers are stationed at nine primary locations.
Enjoy some free time for lunch and exploring Winthrop. This fun town looks like the set of a Western movie: false-front wooden buildings, hitching rails, cattle drives and board sidewalks. There are several spots to have lunch… the town is also full of quaint shops and galleries!
You’ll have plenty of time to explore back at the lodge or to rest up before our next outing… We’re off for a wagon-ride to the old homestead for our Cowboy Cookout! Not only will you find a great dinner, you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the late 1800’s when the first miners and ranchers arrived in this area. Sun Mountain Lodge (B, D)
Day 4 – Winthrop, WA to Marysville, WA
After a breakfast we’ll depart for the gorgeous North Cascades Highway. Few fully know the intense and rugged beauty of the North Cascades – jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 700 glaciers… today we’ll get a glimpse of its beauty.
Next enjoy a gorgeous Diablo Lake tour… first we’ll take a short guided walk to the boat dock as you’ll hear about some of the area’s natural history, biodiversity, and geology. You will also learn about the unique relationship between the environment and the three hydroelectric dams, which provide clean, low-cost, renewable power to the citizens of Seattle. Next board the Cascadian and embark on your cruise of glacier-fed Diablo Lake. You’ll experience parts of the lake that are typically hidden from view when traveling by highway. Your tour will come alive with historic stories about the early explorers and settlers in the area and the formation of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. Our home for the night is beautiful Tulalip Resort and Casino… Your evening is free to try your luck at the casino the Resort also has several options for dinner… From sumptuous culinary artistry to traditional open fire pit cooking, Tulalip Resort & Casino showcases some of the best Seattle restaurants. Tulalip Resort & Casino (B, L)
Day 5 – Marysville, WA to Portland, OR
After breakfast at the resort we’ll make our way home but the fun isn’t over. First stop… Wolf Haven International. Since 1982, Wolf Haven has rescued more than 100 captive-born wolves. These wolves (and a handful of wolf-dogs, coyotes and foxes) receive a lifetime of compassionate care and are treated with dignity and respect for their wild nature. We’ll have a presentation and guided tour of this exceptional sanctuary. Next enjoy a scrumptious lunch at Falls Terrace…. overlooking the Deschutes River and the world-famous Tumwater Falls Park. We hope you enjoy the beautiful scenery and history on this great tour. (B,L)