The loop drive is a 440 mile scenic driving tour that takes you through diverse sections of the beautiful state of Washington.
From my research, It was recommended that you spend about 4-5 nights along the loop drive to allow sufficient time to enjoy the many attractions and activities found along the Cascade Loop.
Read more about the drive here
We planned for a full day since it was going to take us approximately 1.5 hrs from our Airbnb to drive to Leavenworth and there were a few other stops we wanted to do along the way.
Once we checked out of our Airbnb, we headed to our first stop….the Espresso Chalet to get our caffeine fix.
Espresso Chalet opened in 1991 and is one of the longest-running coffee stands in Snohomish County. The site had been one of the sets for the movie, Harry and the Hendersons.
The coffee shop offers 187 flavors & a dozen different milk choices that include hemp, goat and almond.
In addition to coffee, they also sell a few snacks and lots of Bigfoot paraphernalia.
Customers can hike, bike or picnic in the 5-acre Bigfoot Park behind the chalet.
If you look up behind the chalet, you can spot Bridal Veil Falls…sadly, it was too foggy on the day we were there.
We both ordered the special of the day, the Ghiradelli Mocha for $3.25 and it was delicious!
Don’t miss having your picture made with the 14 ft chainsaw-carved statue of Bigfoot!
This green building served as the Bigfoot Museum in the movie but now is used for storage for the coffee shop.
Read more about the coffee shop here
After getting our caffeine fix, we continued to our next stop, the small town of Skykomish.
There wasn’t much to see here…it was tiny!! It only has a population of about 220 people!!
There were a couple of hotels located in Skykomish, one being the historic Cascadia Inn. It only has 14 rooms and has been opened since 1922.
This community used to be a booming, brawling, railroad and logging town, filled with activity and jobs.
Gold, silver and copper miners were all part of the social mix during the boom in the early 20th century.
Today Skykomish is a community of outdoor recreation and tourism. It still has many of the buildings of its boom days and appears much the way it did then.
Read about the history of the town here
We passed these beautiful moss covered trees as we were riding around the small town!
After leaving here, we headed to the Deception Falls Nature Trail.
Once we arrived, we ended up having to park on the side of the road as the parking lot was closed off.
Just a short distance from the parking lot, is a 1/2 mi loop trail that takes about 20 mins to walk.
We were the only ones on the trail and it was very quiet and serene….and GREEN!!
Everything was covered in moss!
You will come across interpretive signage, numerous bridges, and lookout points.
On the trail, you will see Deception Falls.…there are 2 viewpoints for this falls, the upper & lower.
The scenery was beautiful….I could have stayed here all day!
Once my hubby was finally able to pull me away from this place, we continued our drive to Leavenworth.
On this drive, you will cross through Stevens Pass.
Stevens Pass is a mountain pass through the Cascade Mountains that reaches an elevation of 4,061 feet.
Once we arrived, the weather quickly changed and the rain turned into snow!
This area is well known for it’s ski slopes.
We just had to stop and make a few snowballs!
Look at all the snow!
As we continued our drive, we passed a popular restaurant called the 59er Diner.
I had thought about stopping here for lunch but we weren’t hungry once we arrived so we continued on to Leavenworth.
The drive to Leavenworth was very scenic!
We spotted a small pull off so decided to stop for a few minutes.
They lived in Washington and Oregon, mainly around the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean.
This sign with the words Skookum La Metsin is from the Chinook Indian jargon meaning strong medicine.
The Indians always looked to nature for healing and medicines…this sign encouraged people to take the time to relax and enjoy nature because it truly can be medicine for the soul.
After this short stop, we continued our scenic drive.
We then came to another scenic pull off and stopped again to take a few pics of the old Tumwater Canyon bridge that spanned the Wenatchee river.
These waters are very popular with kayakers
If you walk across the bridge, it takes you to a nearby hiking trail called the Tumwater Pipeline Trail. The trail is 2.4 mi roundtrip and dead ends at a cliff face.
Shortly after, we continued our drive towards Leavenworth and as usual , I continued my photo shoot of the incredible scenery along the way.
Finally arriving to Leavenworth…..
It reminded us of a bigger version of Helen, GA.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains. Alpine-style buildings with restaurants serving German food & drinks line the small town’s Front Street.
The town began to blossom in the early 1900’s with the arrival of the Great Northern Railway Company. It’s tracks, that ran through Leavenworth, brought them with opportunities for work, commerce and a new economy.
After the completion of the railroad, Lafayette Lamb arrived in 1903 from Clinton, Iowa to build the second largest sawmill in Washington state.
However, the sawmill and logging industry fell apart after the railroad company relocated to nearby Wenatchee.
The re-routing of the railroad and the subsequent closure of the sawmill converted the town from a bustling, thriving hub of commerce into a hollow, empty community.
For more than thirty years, Leavenworth lived on the brink of extinction.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that a group of businessmen came up with the idea to transform the town into a Bavarian town in an effort to save it….and it worked!
Today, close to two million tourists come to Leavenworth each year…the town hosts several festivals & lights up the whole town with over a 1/2 million lights during the holiday season.
Of course, our first stop was lunch! We headed to a place my hubby had found during his research….Fresh Burger Cafe…yep, another burger joint…no Bratwurst or Sauerkraut for us!
The restaurant wasn’t very big on the inside but they had outside seating as well.
I ordered the Barn Beach Burger ($12) with sweet potato fries. It came with mayo, provolone cheese, bacon, avocado, cucumber, lettuce & tomato.
The hubby ordered the Gunslinger with fries ($12)…it came with BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, bacon, onion rings, lettuce & tomato (minus the onion rings because my hubby hates onions).
The burgers were delicious!!
After lunch, we walked around the town checking out some of the shops..we couldn’t leave without a coffee cup!.
We loved the Bavarian architecture
We spotted the “Welcome to Leavenworth” sign & couldn’t pass by without having our pic made 😉
We then passed this cool looking mural ..so, once again, we had to stop for a quick pic!
We then headed to the nearby Waterfront Park...
The are several trails in the park that wind along the Wenatchee River and through quiet riverbank forests. There are benches for sitting and interpretive signs to explain the natural and cultural history of the area.
The park is a habitat for ospreys and eagles.
We started walking the trail but once we saw this sign, we decided to turn around! We were smelling like dinner after those burgers and I wasn’t up for becoming bear poop on vacay! 😉
After spending about 2 hrs here, we decided to head to our next stop along the byway, Peshastin.
This area is known for its orchards….and they were everywhere!
We just snapped a few pics along the way and headed on to Cashmere.
Cashmere is another very small town …it has a population of around 3,200.
Once we arrived to Cashmere, we headed to Aplets & Cotlets.
This candy store has been opened since the 1930’s and is still making candy the same way they did when it first opened.
Aplets are made from apples and walnuts and Cotlets are made from apricots and walnuts.
We had never had this candy before so thankfully they had samples sitting out. It was delicious! We ended up buying a couple of boxes to take home.
They offer tours of the kithen area where they make the candy but unfortunately they had no tours going on when we arrived.
After leaving here, we headed to see the 9/11 Spirit of America Memorial.
The Spirit of America Memorial includes pieces of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The statue features a firefighter, an office worker, a military officer and an airline stewardess holding hands.
Organizers raised nearly $200,000 to build this memorial with the intent on placing it at the Capitol in Olympia, but in 2013 the state said no way….saying, they felt it was something that happened on the East Coast!
I honestly can’t see how a town in America could turn down this memorial…what a disgrace!
Read more here
The memorial was beautifully done
Nearby was a display of a paper American Flag that had the names of all the victims of 9/11
The Public Market is the 2nd largest open air public market next to Pike Place Market in Seattle.
The market offers a selection of artisan and ethnic products, locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats, flowers, oils, nuts, pastries and freshly-made, prepared foods.
We walked around for a few minutes to check it out…we didn’t see anything that interested us so we decided to head to our next Airbnb.
Views along the way
As we were driving, we noticed a huge fruit stand called Smallwood’s Havest, that was open so we decided to stop.
They had all kinds of freshly picked fruit, as well as all types of fruit butters, dried fruit, candy, and gifts galore.
As we were leaving, we spotted this map of the US & other countries that had these colored pins stuck all over it so we walked over to see what it was about.
We realized the pins represented all the people who had visited this fruit stand…they were literally from all over the world! We couldn’t believe how many people had visited this small town!
Of course we had to pin our state!
The drive to our AirBnb took us back through Leavenworth so we had beautiful views going and coming!
Once again, we drove over Steven’s Pass….this time it was snowing even harder and the roads were covered in snow!
It was beautiful but a little frightening at the same time… we weren’t expecting to be driving in this type of weather!
As soon as we made it over the mountain pass, the snow turned back into rain & a short while later, we made it safely to our Airbnb…it would be our home away from home for the next two days.
This house was the reason I planned my trip to Washington…I saw it on Instagram and planned my whole trip around it as a birthday treat to myself! 🙂
The power of social media…it works! lol
But, you will have to wait for my next post to see it! 😉
Thanks for reading!!