Stevens Pass sits on Highway 2 in the central Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It’s one of the main East-West routes across the mountains and sees quite a bit of traffic over the course of the year. There are a lot of things to do and see when you visit Stevens Pass. The beautiful scenery helps make it that much more enjoyable too.
Six Stevens Pass Family Travel Tips
One of the things Stevens Pass is most famous for is winter skiing. The Stevens Pass Ski Area has been one of the more popular skiing destinations in the state for decades. There is good reason for this too. There are a variety of runs there, some are suitable for beginners and some are perfect for the more adventurous or advanced skier. The lodge features a number of different dining options, the terrain park is well liked, and the chairlifts are more than adequate to handle the crowds. The Stevens Pass Ski Area has everything it needs to guarantee you have a great time there.
One of the most popular destinations in the entire state of Washington is the town of Leavenworth. This small town sure packs a big punch when it comes to providing fun things to do and see. The entire town has a Bavarian theme to it which really adds to the experience. When you get hungry, you’re in the right place too. So much good food that it’s ridiculous. In addition to the food, in Leavenworth you’ll find miniature golf, shopping, zip lines, trails for walking and biking, plenty of good scenery, a ski hill for the colder months, kayaking and rafting, and more.
The Stevens Pass area is surrounded with some great camping options. On the west side, there is Money Creek Campground and Becker Creek Campground. On the east side of the pass, Glacier View Campground and Nason Creek Campground offer great experiences, as does Lake Wenatchee State Park. There are more camping options located to the west of Lake Wenatchee too, as well as near Leavenworth in the Icicle Gorge. If you’re looking to rough it, there are also lots of national forest options with more undeveloped spaces. Camping is easily one of the most well loved activities in the Stevens Pass area.
Hiking is another big activity to do in the Stevens Pass area. You can even do this right there at the summit with the Skyline Lake Trail or you can hook up there with the Pacific Crest Trail. Other trails in the area include Surprise Creek Trail, Iron Goat Mountain Trail, and Merritt Lake Trail. You can also take the old highway down from the summit and hike the Iron Goat Trail which follows an old railroad bed.
GO MOUNTAIN BIKING
The Stevens Pass Ski Area has recently branched out into mountain bike activities during the warmer months. This opportunity to ride your mountain bike, or one that you rent there at the hill, down the bike trail is something you’ll not soon forget. A lot of time and effort goes into constructing these bike paths that include wooden bridges, ramps, and slopes. It really is quite something to see.
There’s a lot of railroad history in the Stevens Pass area. There are some areas where you can go and view the tunnel that takes trains beneath Stevens Pass. There are also opportunities to view the historic Old Cascade Tunnel too. A drive down the Old Cascade Highway from the summit will take you to Wellington, the site of the worst train disaster in American history. Here you can hike part of the Iron Goat Trail through the old snow sheds. If you venture down the west side to Skykomish, check out the historic railroad depot in the center of town where you can view some museum quality exhibits, and if you’re lucky, get a ride on a scale model of trains that may have plied the rails in this area in days gone by.
GET SOMETHING TO EAT
There are a lot of great eating out options in the Stevens Pass area too. You can eat out at the ski lodge right at the summit. They have a number of restaurants and cafes there. There are also some great diners and cafes in towns on the west side like Skykomish, Index, and Gold Bar. Heading east from the summit will lead you to places like Coles Corner, Plain, and Leavenworth where you’ll find everything from burgers and milkshakes to classic breakfasts, steaks, pasta, and more. Don’t be afraid to pick up something to go either and find a campground or picnic area and enjoy the outdoors.