Mountains to Sound Greenway – I-90
Length: 100 miles / 160.9 km
Time to Allow: 1.5 to 2 hours will allow you to enjoy this lovely area.
Washington I-90 sprawls through a hundred miles of mountains and pastoral valleys before turning into drier climates toward the Columbia River. While you can drive the byway in just two hours, the route offers incredible beauty and adventure. The byway connects to the Puget Sound over the Snoqualmie Pass to Central Washington, giving the name to the route. Although I-90 stays open throughout the year, portions close in the winter due to poor weather conditions.
The byway starts near the water up north in Seattle then moves slightly southeast to the town of Thorp. Seattle offers a treasure trove of activities ready to suit everyone. A few notable places to visit include the Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Museum of Flight. From there, take a trip on one of the cities ferries or visit the sky View Observatory for extraordinary views of the city landscape. Next, take the kids to the zoo or see a baseball game at the stadium before rounding out the trip with a stop at the Space Needle.
Seattle offers some of the world’s best hotels like The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown by Hilton. On Mercer Island, near the city bike, the 90-acre park built over the interstate sits the Aubrey Davis Park, with options for sports, picnics, and much more. Lake Sammamish State Park continues on the interstate, perfect for a day of swimming in freshwater, hiking, boating, or water skiing. It’s the perfect place to camp near the city with tons of room and bathrooms.
Next, continue slightly south to Issaquah that sits a few miles from the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Squak Mountain State Park Natural Area, and the Tiger Mountain State Forest. The town host another zoo and many wildlife areas and trails. For a day at the water or beautiful views, then stop at Pine Lake Park. Grab a bite to eat at Issaquah Cafe for some good old American meals.
Continue south to Snoqualmie Point Park to see the western front of the Cascade Mountains with acres of forest and farmlands below. In the valley, visit the Meadowbrook Farm Preserve to learn about the Snoqualmie tribal people and how they maintained the prairie. From there, head to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail by the river, perfect for bikers, hikers, joggers, and equestrians. You can also visit the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum for a little more history.
For more outdoor adventure, check out the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail for a diverse and scenic landscape through evergreen forests and tunnels. Follow the interstate to Lake Easton State Park, with a spectacular lake surrounded by trees. The park offers everything from camping to snowmobiling with a variety of outdoor activities.
Before ending the byway, stop in the tiny, charming town of Roslyn filled with coal town character. Nearby find the Coal Mines Trail before ending the trip in Thorp. The Thorp Mills offers a fantastic historic site and an antique mall with fresh fruits. Spend your days fishing and hiking, and then spend your evening in the Wild Goose Casino. With a variety of hotels and inns nearby, you can spend the last part of your trip in comfort.
More Washington Byways
You can check out additional Byways in Washington by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Washington Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.