Magazine article Sunset

Day-Tripping from Seattle to Spokane

Magazine article Sunset

Day-Tripping from Seattle to Spokane

Article excerpt

Here are detours to turn a long drive into an intrastate adventure

THERE ARE THREE ways to cross the state of Washington fast: take a plane, take train, or take Interstate 90. Every day, legions of drivers pull onto I-90 in Seattle and Spokane, set their accelerators on cruise control, and turn on the radio or tape deck in an effort to relieve the boredom of the 5-hour, nearly 300-mile commute between the cities.

But there's another way to overcome the I-90 monotony: turn it into a leisurely journey by making a number of detours to some surprising places--to eat, shop, and see the sights. Here are some of the spots, listed from west to east, that we enjoyed on a recent trip from Seattle to Spokane and back again.


Beyond Issaquah, the Seattle metropolitan area ends and I-90 winds through low green mountains that rise up to the High Cascades. About 25 miles east of downtown Seattle, turn off I-90 at exit 27 and head 2 miles north to Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls.

The 91-room Salish Lodge was renovated in 1988, and went on to appear as the fictional Great Northern Lodge in the television series "Twin Peaks." The lodge's huge dining room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner Mondays through Fridays, and a lavish breakfast (served until 3 P.M.) and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. At the weekend breakfasts ($20 to $25), guests may choose from stuffed French toast, salmon with poached eggs, Salish game hash, Dungeness cra strudel, or a sampling of all four entrees. Reservations are recommended (800/826-6124), especially if you want a window seat to watch the 268-foot-high falls plunging down into the Snoqualmie River. After the meal, work off some calories by hiking down around the falls.

Back on I-90, beyond Snoqualmie you'll see rugged Mount Si rising off to the north. Here the road begins a steady climb to Snoqualmie Pass at an elevation o 3,022 feet. Just west of the pass, you'll see signs to the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail. An easy 1-mile trail leads through a forest of cedar, Western hemlock, Pacific silver fir, and centuries-old Douglas fir that towers above a lush carpet of salal, sword fern, and other shade-loving plants. Here you'll find picnic sites, plus access to fishing on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River.

As you descend from the pass, you'll begin to notice a change in the vegetation the forests thin out and undergrowth becomes grassy and dry.

A mile west of the town of Easton, Lake Easton State Park covers 516 acres and has 24,000 feet of shoreline on the Easton Reservoir and 2,000 feet on the Yakima River. With 37 miles of hiking trails and nearly 135 campsites, this is good overnight stop for families; for more information, call (509) 656-2230.


The old coal-mining town of Roslyn also has a television counterpart: it become Cicely, Alaska, in the series "Northern Exposure." Television viewers who visit will recognize the weathered wood-frame architecture from scenes filmed on Roslyn's Pennsylvania Avenue. You might grab a bite at the Roslyn Cafe (look fo the big camel on the outside wall) or the Pioneer Restaurant. At many of the shops or the local museum (all in the small downtown area) you can pick up a copy of the Kittitas County Visitors Guide.

Ellensburg (population 12,860), the Kittitas County seat, has a charming old downtown dominated by the ornate 1889 Davidson Building, one of 31 historic structures on the local walking tour. …

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