Snowshoeing, Rivers, and Pilgrimages
In the Cascades of Washington
Updated February 17, 2005
Notes On Snowshoeing and Snowmobiles
Wilderness Areas and Avalanches
The Pleasant Exception - White Pass
Hourly Weather and Snow Level Reports
Hourly Weather and Snow Level Reports – Northern Washington
Hourly Weather and Snow Level Reports – Southern Cascades
Non-motorized Sno-Parks near Seattle
White Pass – Ski Resort and Cascade Crest Trail Access to the Winter Wilderness
Cascade Passes and Their River Systems
Passes: Their Elevations and Rivers
Washington River Basin Drainage Areas
For most of my life, I have gone on trips around and through the Cascades of Washington. Besides the fact that if you go back and forth across the state you must travel though these passes and rivers, there has always been a curiosity in natural history in my family. Along with this, there are undertones of pilgrimages in many of these trips.
So partially out of curiosity, and partially out of an interest to make it easier to do trip planning, I decided to consolidate this information. There is so much automated weather data collection now that I have found it fascinating to watch weather systems flow through the region. This also makes it much easier to get a good sense of what the weather will be like if I travel to a particular location. I have had many wonderful moments in the mountains by watching the weather, and then picking a really interesting day for a trip.
When I was growing up, Cayuse Pass was kept open all year, and a small parking area was maintained at the pass. This was only a few miles from Chinook Pass and the Cascade Crest trail, so it was a great way to make day trips to the heart of the Cascades during the winter. Now that Cayuse Pass is closed from about Thanksgiving to Memorial Day, it is much more difficult to find crowd, smoke, and snowmobile free day trip access to the deep snow, and the Cascade Crest in particular. This paper is a record of the results of my efforts to address this issue.
I'm starting to think that usually people don't go on day snowshoe hikes, they go on overnight expeditions and really get away from it all, and most day trips are on skis or snowmobiles.
The snowmobile routes are mostly east of the Cascade crest, and where they are allowed, interconnect large areas across multiple mountain areas. Mt Rainier Park and vicinity is completely free of snowmobile routes, as is Stevens Pass. This is because they are actually wilderness areas, or are surrounded by them. I think they locate the snowmobile trails well away from the wilderness areas because noise carries, and because they would ignore signs, but do pay attention to running out of fuel.
There is no wilderness area close to Blewett Pass, so it is snowmobile heaven. They also have lots of great non-motorized trails there, but since the noise carries, you have to be numb to the noise, or go on overnight trips to get out of the area.
Manastash Ridge is another official snowmobile heaven. I think it will be hard to find a sunny area, by going east, that is free of snowmobiles. Even if it isn't an official trail, there is little enforcement over there, and the snow depth is shallow enough that a good 4x4 can drag a trailer of snowmobiles over most of the area, and make its own parking spot almost anywhere. I have a medium sized truck, and can drive in 18" of snow without chains. Just think what a big rig can do with chains on! I once rode in a heavy duty utility truck with large wheels (with chains on every wheel) that was driving through about 6 feet of unplowed snow.
So the basic rule to avoid vehicle noise when snowshoeing is: snowshoe overnight towards a wilderness area or drive for a full day towards the least populated and scenic areas east of the Cascade crest and then start snowshoeing.
Unfortunately by definition almost all the wilderness areas have avalanche issues, thus the need to produce the reports below. Since it’s easy to avoid avalanche issues on day hikes, but has been raining a lot at higher elevations the last few years, I originally listed the reports as a way of finding out where it was snowing instead of raining.
Now I realize that anywhere within a half day drive of Seattle that is free of snowmobiles will be high elevation and receive lots of snow, and steep and bare enough for it to slide, so there will be avalanche issues to consider when picking routes. Its not that hard to spot where it might be risky, the trick is to determine how much risk. If you just keep large trees immediately up hill of your position, you are okay since the trees anchor their snow, and obviously have withstood any slides from above.
If you have any questions or doubts about avalanche issues, refer to books from www.mountaineersbooks.org which is the premier source of mountaineering books. I wouldn’t trust my life with any less reliable source.
For detailed predictions on North American avalanche conditions and related issues, check this site www.nwac.noaa.gov
White Pass has many things going for it if you want to experience the serenity and grandeur the high mountains in winter.
All this adds up to a nearly unique opportunity to experience the solitude and wonder of the alpine mountains in the winter without having to make an expedition to reach them.
For more details about White Pass, see the section below titled “White Pass – Ski Resort and Cascade Crest Trail Access to the Winter Wilderness”.
There are a few critical weather issues to keep in mind.
Layering of Weather Systems and Temperature Differentials
Due to where the central Cascades are located, frequently there are sheets of air moving in different directions and they have very different temperatures. I have seen the temperature at 5,500 feet be 35 degrees Fahrenheit colder than sea level. I have also seen it significantly warmer at the passes than it is at sea level. These differences have a huge impact on the risk of hypothermia and avalanches.
The only way to get a real idea of what the weather is at a different elevation is to check the automated weather stations below. Watching for the trends in shifts is very useful.
Warm Wind and Rain, Snow Pack Conditions, and Avalanches
The worst avalanches occur when previously stable snow masses are softened by a warm wind and loaded with additional weight when saturated with rain. There can be quick switches from cold dry artic air masses from central Canada to warm wet air masses from the south Pacific as the wind switches from the east to the west.
Keep in mind that snow that was perfectly safe yesterday, or even this morning, could suddenly become a critical hazard due to a shift in the weather.
Also, warm rain can soften the snow pack so that you can be sinking in thigh deep while wearing snowshoes, which will significantly slow you down and wear you out much faster than firmer snow conditions will. This snow condition also increases the risk of sprains and related injuries as the snowshoe gets stuck in snow nearly as sticky as wet concrete. The problem is the inertia of the upper body keeps moving, while the foot attached to the snowshoe doesn’t, and tries to make part of the leg bend in an unusual direction.
The Venture Effect and Wind Speed
The Cascades run continuously north and south across the state, which blocks weather systems moving east or west. This eventually builds up significant pressure and the wind speed in passes and across ridges, and can be several times what it is a few miles away, or even 50 feet away. It is frequently much windier in the winter, and when dressed for snowshoeing, you offer much more air resistance than you do in summer.
So pay attention to the wind and gust speed information in the weather reports, and in bad weather, stay away from the edges. All it takes is one gust to turn you into a flying leaf.
The Wind Chill Factor and Hypothermia and Frostbite
Take a look at this page to get an idea of the relationship between wind speed and the time it takes to get frostbite: www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/index.shtml
Traveling into a zone of lower temperature and higher wind speed can radically affect the risk of frostbite, which is a fairly permanent injury.
Hypothermia, the lowering of the body’s core temperature, is a very common factor in mountaineering fatalities. This is because it starts affecting a person’s judgment long before they enter a medically critical state. It is the mistakes in judgment that set up a person, or even whole team for failure. Then once they are seriously in trouble, and confused from hypothermia, it is very difficult to plan and implement successful solutions.
The problem with hypothermia is very similar to the problem where the more alcohol a person drinks, the less concerned they become about drinking too much.
As a person approaches the medically critical stage of hypothermia, they start feeling warm and drowsy, and are sure if they just lay down for a minute and rest, they will be just fine. Shortly after that, they will go into a coma stage, and then die if they aren’t warmed up.
It would be a good precaution to read up on spotting signs of hypothermia and frostbite and how to treat them.
From the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center:
Weather stations are listed from North
Elevations are for the source of snow level data
Some reports have additional weather data for higher elevations
Climatological Snow Depth Information www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/CLISNO
This provides a good idea of how the snow pack is doing in relationship to past years.
These 2 links were moved, I am looking for new location:
Summary of Identifiers www.seawfo.noaa.gov/products/OSOMTN
Summary of Data Access Frequency www.seawfo.noaa.gov/products/OSOSTN
Mt Baker Ski Area 4220' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOMTB
Washington Pass (pass 5477') 5510' data www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOWP9
Mazama, Freestone Inn 2200' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOMAZ
Stevens Pass 4061'
Tye Mill and Skyline 5240' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOSK9
Brooks Chair and WSDOT (Schmidt Haus) 4000' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOSTS
Grace Lakes 4800’ www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOST9
Leavenworth, Tumwater Mountain 4280' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOTUM
Blewett Pass 4102'
Mission Ridge Ski Area (base 4570') 5300' data www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOMSR
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park 5150' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOHUR
Central and Southern Washington
Snoqualmie Pass 3022'
Alpental Ski Area 3120' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOALP
Snoqualmie Summit 3000' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOSNO
Crystal Mountain Ski Area 4480' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOCMT
Crystal Mountain Ski Area, Green Valley 6300' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOCMG
Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park 6420' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOSUN
Chinook Pass (pass 5430') 5560 data www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOCHP
Paradise, Mt Rainier National Park 5500' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOPVC
White Pass Ski Area (pass 4500') 5780' data www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOWPS
Mt St Helens, Coldwater Ridge 3200' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOMSH
Timberline Lodge, Oregon 6000' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOTML
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area, Oregon 5250' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOMHM
Ski Bowl Ski Area, Government Camp, Oregon 5000' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOGVT
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon 6370' www.nwac.us/~nwac/products/OSOCRA
Weather Forecast for West slopes, Central Cascades, and Passes
This is good for predictions on snow level, inches of snowfall, freezing level, temperature, and wind speed. This helps identify layered air temperatures and whether it will be fun, miserable, or dangerous to go to certain elevations, and start estimating future avalanche risk.
Text weather forecasts for all Washington zones
This map shows which local weather forecasting zones are covered by which Forecast Office
Seattle: western WA zones www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/get.php?sid=SEW&pil=ZFP
Spokane: eastern WA zones www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/get.php?sid=OTX&pil=ZFP
Portland: southwestern WA zones www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/get.php?sid=PQR&pil=ZFP
Pendleton: south central WA zones www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/get.php?sid=PDT&pil=ZFP
Text Weather Discussions, Forecasts and Outlooks for Northwestern United States
Detailed Backcountry Avalanche Forecast for the Olympics, Washington Cascades, and Mt Hood Area
Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center www.nwac.us
North American Mountain Snow Conditions www.nwac.noaa.gov
This site links to regional centers for detailed winter mountain weather predications
(Also see the ski resort section for links to ski resorts.)
WA State Mountain Pass Road Report (text) www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/text.aspx
WA State DOT Pass & Sno-Info: rules, cameras, and more info www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/
Summary of snow conditions for WA ski areas www.goski.com/snow/gssnow.htm?state=WA
Washington State Sno-Parks www.parks.wa.gov/winter/
If you buy an annual Sno-Park pass, you can park plowed in parking lots near winter recreational areas. The online maps for the Snowmobile Sno-Parks show both the motorized and non-motorized trails – the online maps for non-motorized trails don’t show any other trails. So if you are looking for a quite trail, use the snowmobile maps to determine the separation between them and the non-motorized trails.
Mt Rainier National Park www.nps.gov/mora/
Wilderness Camping & Hiking www.nps.gov/mora/recreation/wildcamp.htm
USGS River Streamflow Data http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wa/nwis/current?type=flow
This is good for flooding status and related information.
The premier source of mountaineering books www.mountaineersbooks.org
Wind Chill Temperature Index www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/index.shtml
Outdoor Equipment Sources, Suppliers, and Information www.skilledwright.com/outdoorequipmentsources.htm
Help for finding equipment for many outdoor activities including snowshoeing
For day snowshoe trips on a low budget from the Seattle area, it still looks like Gold Creek near Snoqualmie Pass off of I-90, and Sun Top and Silver Creek off State Route 410 near the north side of Mount Rainier, are still the best bets for avoiding snowmobile noise.
Sun Top and Silver Creek
The official Sno-Park snowmobile trails in this area are north and east of the Norse Peak Wilderness which is east of the Dalles Ridge. State Route 410 is west of the Dalles Ridge and Sun Top is west of the highway. The Silver Creek parking area is located where State Route 410 enters Mount Rainier National Park and is west of Crystal Mountain which is west of Norse Peak Wilderness.
Normally both areas are fairly quite because of the physical barriers between them and the snowmobile trails and because commercial traffic can’t travel through the national park on State Route 410, so the only truck traffic is local traffic. After Cayuse Pass is snowed in for the winter, and the logging sites are snowed in for the winter, there is very little local commercial traffic left.
The Sun Top fire lookout is 6 miles from the parking lot and the road up to it is closed in the winter. The Sno-Park trail is the closed road and goes from 2200' to 3400' in elevation. Since the 1200' gain is on a 6 mile road, its work but not technically difficult.
The lower elevation vista at Sun Top is 2 miles up the road, then right on a spur for 0.1 miles.
Silver Creek is about 7 miles past the turn off to Sun Top. When Cayuse Pass is closed for the winter, State Route 410 is closed where it enters Mount Rainier Park at the Silver Creek parking area. From here you can follow State Route 410 all the way up to the Cascade Crest, or follow the side road all the way up Sunrise on the shoulder of Mount Rainer. After miles of travel through the White River valley, the official trail ends as the road rises up out of the valley and into avalanche zones. Since the trail head is at 2,800 feet, and the trail is following the only road into this side of the national park (which is closed for the winter) this might be the easiest winter access to an area completely isolated from motorized vehicles.
The Gold Creek parking area is at 2,640' and provides access to a large rolling area in Gold Creek Valley between Rampart Ridge on the east and Kendall Peak on the west where you are free to roam. The valley starts in Alpine Lakes Wilderness and its mouth opens at I-90 were Gold Creek empties into Lake Keechelus.
The Sno-Park snowmobile trails are on the south and east side of Rampart Ridge towards Lake Kachess. Note that there is Lake Kachess is on the east side of I-90 and there is a Lake Keechelus on the west side of I-90. The local residents along the first part of Gold Creek can use snowmobiles to get to their cabins when the road is blocked with snow. As long as you stay northwest of Rampart Ridge, and head away from I-90 towards the wilderness area, it should be fairly quite.
The main non-motorized trail is on the east side of Gold Creek valley at the foot of Rampart Ridge. The first section follows a level road and goes for about 3 miles north, and then runs into the wilderness area.
After maybe half a mile, where there is a side road to the left to a parking lot, if you branch right up a closed logging road, you can go as high as you want and the wilderness area boundary is 1 mile away and 1,800' up the west side Rampart Ridge. If you have the energy to go straight up, this is the quickest route to an alpine zone. The top of the ridge is another 600' up from the wilderness boundary.
Snowshoeing and downhill skiing don't mix well in a practical sense. If nothing else, the potholes from snowshoes are dangerous for downhill skiers. So ski resorts have firm rules about where snowshoes can be used. If there is a way a snowshoer can use ski lifts to access high country, likely it will take persistent questioning to find out under what conditions this is allowed.
Since cross country skiing doesn't mix well with downhill skiing either, but mixes better than snowshoeing does, if a resort doesn't allow cross country skiing, that is a bad sign for people with an interest in the backcountry. Part of the problem is some ski resorts are surrounded by avalanche zones, and the only safe places are the downhill ski runs.
What is worse, the noise and exhaust of vehicles, or the commercial ambiance of ski resorts? The key point is you can get away from skiers more quickly and easily than you can escape the noise and lingering smoke from snowmobiles. The snow traps the exhaust, so you can smell where they have been for days.
So in an attempt to escape snowmobiles, here are the ski resorts within a half day of Seattle:
A good phrase to look for is a lift that will "upload or download snowshoers" - the only mention I found was the ones that don't.
www.missionridge.com - no cross country skiing
www.skicrystal.com - no cross country skiing, lift ticket $45
www.summit-at-snoqualmie.com/info/winter/nordic.asp - they aren't clear on the rates or where snowshoes are allowed, I would just go to Gold Creek on the other side of the freeway, and head north or uphill towards the wilderness area. This route is wooded enough to be free of avalanche issues, but still has a few good vista points.
www.stevenspass.com - The pass has some of the best snow in the Cascades, but you can only downhill ski there.
www.stevenspass.com/html/ccsnow/info.shtml Nordic day pass $14 for adults
A Nordic pass is required for snowshoers and cross country skiers
There is a Nordic Center 5 miles east of Stevens Pass down in a valley for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. I've been to the parking lot and it’s not very scenic, you have to go many miles and thousands of feet up to get out of the trees. The high point of the main Nordic trail is only 3760' so the top is just barely at the bottom of the sub alpine. I just looked at their trail map. The main trail, where they allow snowshoes, follows an overhead power transmission line almost all the way to the top. I hate that buzzing sound and the reminder that I am in a huge electrical field when you can hear that buzz. Since snowshoes don't have to follow trails, you could go part way up along the power lines, and then go somewhere else. However this would take a while and you would still get zapped by the buzzing.
White Pass looks like the best bet for a pass providing good access to the back country, free from snowmobile noise, and additionally providing ski resort facilities.
West of Tatoosh Wilderness
South and east of Goat Rocks Wilderness
East of William O Douglas Wilderness
See the section above titled “The Exception - White Pass” for more information on why White Pass looks like a good bet.
Snowshoeing is free
Nordic day pass $8 for adults to cross country ski on the
Full day weekend adult all lift pass $38
Hogback Mountain, above the express downhill ski lift, is described in the backcountry ski book as "a gentle summit with miles of hills" which would be great for snowshoeing too. The downhill skiing is south of US Highway 12 and the cross country skiing is north of US Highway 12. North of the road there are slopes are gentle enough that you can just head out with snowshoes and make your own trail.
Now that they close Cayuse Pass for the winter, White Pass is probably the best chance for alpine snowshoe day hikes without vehicle noise or exhaust. There is Paradise, but it has more crowds, fees, and rules because it is such a famous tourist spot in a small location in a National Park. In addition it is mostly all up and down so going anywhere takes a lot of work in snowshoes.
From a 2003 email from email@example.com
We do not allow snowshoeing on our Nordic trails because they are groomed for track or skating. You may snowshoe anywhere out of our area, i.e. Hog-back mountain which you can access by a chair ride and a hick or simply by walking up our cat-tracks, or north or south on the Cascade Crest trail that runs just east of us. Also have you tried driving as far as the road is open up Chinook pass? The road to Cayuse pass may not be open to snow level in the winter. I hope I was able to help you out with these suggestions.
All in all, there are a lot of great opportunities at White Pass.
Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass are actually in the Park, but since they are on a significant cross state highway, State Route 410, there is no entrance fee. This is great. Some of my most spectacular late fall and early winter hikes have been out of Chinook Pass before they close it for the winter.
Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass are closed after about Thanksgiving weekend (or earlier if there is heavy snowfall). They reopen between about Memorial Day and Fourth of July depending on how deep the snow pack got and how quickly it melted enough so the roads could be cleared. Since Cayuse Pass is lower than Chinook Pass, it closes later, and opens earlier than Chinook.
The road to Sunrise is closed after Labor Day, and since it is usually cloudy and cold and frequently foggy, it isn’t of much interest unless you want to drive up on the shoulder of a volcano, and drive on the highest paved road in the state, which is of course fun to do occasionally.
More information is available on their web site www.nps.gov/mora/
Park Visitor Information 360-569-2211 x. 3314
Paradise Ranger Station 360-569-2211 x. 2314
Jackson Visitor Center – Paradise 360-569-2211 x. 2328
Longmire Museum 360-569-2211 x. 3314
Nisqually Entrance – couldn’t find phone number
The Paradise parking lot is at 5,400’ of elevation and is the highest winter time access to Mount Rainier. There is a huge parking lot with public restrooms are open even when the visitors center is closed.
Now that passes on State Route 410 close for the winter, driving to Paradise is the only way to drive up into the sub-alpine zone in the winter. Depending on the road conditions, it is 2.5 -3.5 hours from Seattle. At least half an hour of this drive is on a slow curvy road from the park entrance to Paradise parking lot. It costs $10 for the vehicle and occupants to enter the park. You can get an annual pass for just this park for $30, or an annual pass for all National parks for $50. When you look at the cost of a ski lift ticket for a single day, this is a real bargain.
There is a huge plowed parking lot for day use, and a small one for overnight parking. You must get a wilderness permit to park overnight, and since they lock the gate at Longmire at 6pm, it’s easy to become an overnight parker.
The ranger at the entrance booth can provide detailed information about conditions at Paradise.
The park entrance on the way to Paradise is at about 2,300’ in elevation which means you gain over 3,000 in elevation while driving to Paradise.
It’s a real amazing experience to travel up and down through all of the climate and plant zones, river valleys, towering woods, and meadows between the park entrance and Paradise. This is especially spectacular when the seasons are changing because then you can travel though a complete seasonal change in less than an hour.
Here is the Washington state pass information. I added the
rivers since as I traced all this, I noticed the passes I have been to the most
also coincidently follow important rivers. Some are important in size and some
are important in my life. Even most of my time in arid eastern Washington is
spent traveling along rivers.
Roughly from north to south, my traveling and destination rivers are: Skagit, Methow, Okanogan, Columbia, Yakima, White, and Naches.
Chinook Pass (5430 ft) is basically the same height as Washington Pass (5477 ft) on the North Cascade Highway, and only Sherman Pass (5575 ft) is higher. In Mt Rainier Park Paradise is 5400 ft and Sunrise is 6400 ft, and might be the highest paved road in the state.
I think Paradise is the highest all year road in the Cascades (and has the record snowfalls) and Sherman Pass the highest all year road in the state.
There are only 3 all year East/West routes open through the Cascades now:
Stevens Pass on US 2, Snoqualmie Pass on I-90, and White Pass on US Highway 12
Passes are listed from North to South (and West to East)
Mt. Baker Hwy State Route 542 (follows the Nooksack River east from Bellingham to Mt. Baker)
Elevation: 4250 ft (1295 m)
Rivers in North Central Washington
The Okanogan River flows south along US 97 from Lake Osoyoos in Canada south to Tonasket, south to Omak, south to the Columbia just north of Brewster. US 97 follows the Columbia south to Wenatchee.
The Methow River flows south along State Route 20 and State Route 153 and south to the Columbia just south of Brewster.
State Route 20 has the most major passes of any road in the state as it crosses mountain ranges in the northern section of the state.
State Route 20 follows the Skagit River east from Sedro
Woolley to Washington pass, east to Mazama, the Methow River east to Twisp,
east to Omak, the Okanogan River north to Tonasket, east to Tiger, and the Pend
Oreille River south to Newport.
North Cascade Hwy State Route 20 (follows the Skagit River east from Sedro Woolley to Washington pass, and then east to Twisp)
Elevation: 5477 ft (1669 m)
Loup Loup Pass State Route 20 (east from Twisp to Omak)
Elevation: 4020 ft (1226 m)
Wauconda Pass State Route 20 (east from Tonasket to Republic)
>Not listed in state pass report
Elevation: 4310 ft
Sherman Pass State Route 20 (east from Republic to Colville)
Elevation: 5575 ft (1699 m)
Disautel Pass State Route 155 (east from Omak to Grand Coulee)
Elevation: 3252 ft (991 m)
Stevens Pass US Highway 2 Follows the Skykomish River east from Everet to Stevens Pass
From the pass, follows the Wenatchee River east to Leavenworth, east to Wenatchee
Elevation: 4061 ft (1238 m)
Blewett Pass US Highway 97 (south from Leavenworth to Cle Elum)
Elevation: 4102 ft (1250 m)
Snoqualmie Pass I-90 (east from North Bend to Cle Elum)
Elevation: 3022 ft (921 m)
The Yakima River
The Yakima River runs from Cle Elum to Ellensburg, to Yakima, and southeast to the Columbia at Richland just upstream of where the Snake flows into the Columbia at Kennewick. The Cle Elum and Naches Rives both flow into the Yakima. I had no idea how big the Yakima River was. It looks like the 4th biggest drainage basin in the state. See the list at the bottom.
State Route 410: east from ENUMCLAW to NACHES to US Highway 12 and YAKIMA:
Follows the White river east to Crystal Mountain
Follows the Naches River east from the Chinook Pass to the Yakima River
Greenwater to Crystal State Route 410
Elevation: 2600 ft (793 m)
Crystal Mtn Blvd (north from State Route 410 at west entrance to Mt Rainier National Park)
Elevation: 4400 ft (1345 m)
Cayuse Pass State Route 123/State Route 410
Elevation: 4675 ft (1425 m)
Chinook Pass State Route 410
Elevation: 5430 ft (1655 m)
Other Passes Connecting to Yakima
Manastash Ridge I-82 (south from Ellensburg to Yakima)
Elevation: 2672 ft (815 m)
White Pass US Highway 12 (east from Morton to Yakima, follows the Tieton River east to the Naches River)
Elevation: 4500 ft (1372 m)
Satus Pass US Highway 97 (southwest from Yakima to the Columbia)
Elevation: 3107 ft (947 m)
Eastern End of US Highway 12
Alpowa Pass US Highway 12 (east from Walla Walla to Lewiston)
>Not listed in state pass report
Elevation: 2785 ft
In square miles from http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wa/nwis/current?type=flow
(For reference Rhode Island is 1,045 sq. mi. and WA State is 67,000 sq. mi.)
Listed are Washington’s largest rivers and my favorite smaller rivers:
I really like my passes and rivers!
May your day be filled with clarity, grace, progress, and warm laughter,
As long as Roger Padvorac is credited as the writer, and www.skilledwright.com/Essays.htm as the original source, feel free to share this essay in any nonprofit context. For sharing this in any other context, contact Roger Padvorac for permission through the contact information provided on www.skilledwright.com/Essays.htm