Driving Across the State - Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass
Most of the time when I drive across the state of Washington, all I think about is getting to my destination, but driving across the state can be a great opportunity to discover something new. If you have a little extra time or need a break, there are many places to stop without having to go far from your route. Over the next few months, I will be doing a series of posts on easy adventures near the cross state travel routes, starting with I-90 traveling from Seattle through Spokane to the Idaho border. For this first week, we are going to look at easy stops on I-90 between Seattle and Snoqualmie Pass. The first stop is Rattlesnake Lake, owned and operated by Seattle Public Utilities. This peaceful lake is just past North Bend (if you are coming from Seattle) and just a few miles from exit 32. It is a perfect spot to stop whether you want an easy stroll with kids, a quiet spot for a quick picnic, a place to swim or a challenging mountain hike. From the parking lots, you can access a paved trail that goes along the lake shore, hop onto the Palouse to Cascades Trail, can tackle the 10.7 mile Rattlesnake Ledge/Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. There is a large parking lot as you first access the area, and a smaller one at the end of the Rattlesnake Lake Trail just past the education center.
Hop back on I-90 and head up to Snoqualmie Pass to celebrate the history of skiing and snowboarding at the free Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum and show your kids what people skied on in the early days of the sport.
The final stop before you leave the pass is the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the Palouse to Cascades Trail. Park at the Hyak Trailhead (Discover Pass Required) and walk 1/3 of a mile to the tunnel. Even before you see the entrance to the tunnel, you will feel a dramatic drop in temperature, a perfect way to refresh yourself on a hot summer day. If you want to go all the way through the 2.3 mile long tunnel you should bring a flashlight (even though you can see the light at the end of the tunnel as you walk.) But even without a flashlight, it is well worth stepping into the tunnel. The trail is smooth and even, and you can walk in as far as you feel comfortable in the dark.