Mountains to Sound Greenway

There’s never a dull roadside moment on the Mountains to Sound Greenway. In terms of diversity and time commitment, this byway delivers maximum bang for your travel buck. Farmers markets like Seattle’s Pike Place Market and the one at Bellevue’s Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm are obvious attractions, but there’s more to sample along the way. The Mountains to Sound Greenway boasts over 20 small farmers markets.

The route’s characteristic Northwest landscapes and quirky towns even caught the attention of Hollywood; the television shows “Twin Peaks” and “Northern Exposure” were filmed in North Bend and Roslyn.

The Mountains to Sound Greenway connects trails and natural areas with working farms, forests and wildlife habitats. It provides easy access to towering waterfalls and craggy peaks to conquer. It offers snow skiing, paragliding and lodging in resorts that face a waterfall or a fairway. Year round, this road trip offers something special for every interest.

 

CLICK TO EXPLORE ON MAP to find more things to do, places to stay and eat along this route.

1. Seattle

Seattle is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in the world. Seattle delivers a great metropolitan experience while being perfectly located to take full advantage of the natural beauty that Scenic Washington State has to offer. Situated on the shores of Puget Sound, Washington's “Emerald City” seamlessly blends the history of the rough and tumble gold rush era with modern high-tech sophistication and a hip urban chic culture.The downtown core combines the legendary Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square with the ultra modern Rem Koolhaas design of the Seattle Public Library. Quirky neighborhoods in Ballard, Fremont and Capitol Hill each add to the city's unique charm.

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2. Space Needle

It's hard to take Seattle for granted when you see it from 520 feet on our Observation Deck. Trace the outlines of the Cascades against the misty horizon. Instagram Mt. Rainier. Track ferries and boats as they cruise through Elliott Bay. Listen to the distant hum of people, cars, trains, buses, and bikers bustling around Downtown Seattle. It's all up here, ready and waiting to be seen. Revolving restaurant, Observation Deck, banquet level and gift shop. Elevator ride complimentary when dining. Valet parking available or ride the Monorail. Open daily.

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3. Woodland Park Zoo

Discover the world of gorillas, grizzlies, tigers and more at a top award-winning zoo. Don’t miss the new Assam Rhino Reserve where you’ll encounter one of the largest land mammals, the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Watch these water loving animals wallowing in mud, grazing on land, immersing in a shallow pool and nibbling on aquatic plants. See penguins “fly” underwater. Enjoy squealing otters. Safari to Africa for views of giraffes, zebras, and hippos. 

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4. Pike Place Market

Open year-round, this is Seattle's most iconic attraction — and it's filled with tasty treats. There's so much to love about Pike Place Market. Aisles of gleaming fruits and vegetables, tables overflowing with fresh floral bouquets, and booth after booth selling all manner of locally made jewelry, clothing and gifts. It's also a great place to enjoy many fantastic eateries serving prepared dishes. When you’re not sure what kind of food you’re in the mood to eat, just head to Pike Place Market and sample a little of everything or hop on one of several market tours that focus on food, history, or a little of both. There's also the whole fish-throwing thing, too.

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5. Mercer Slough

Just minutes from downtown, the Mercer Slough Nature Park is the largest of Lake Washington’s remaining fresh water wetlands and is one of Bellevue’s largest parks. Explore over 320 acres of wildlife habitat, agriculture, and freshwater wetland ecosystems on 7+ miles of trails including a unique canoe trail. The blueberry farm sells fresh seasonal produce. Check out the trails, visitors center, environmental education center, picnic areas, waterfront, canoe launch and blueberry farm.

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6. Issaquah Fish Hatchery

Take the short side trip down Issaquah's delightful main street to visit the fish hatchery at the end of town. Also home to a great annual Salmon Days festival.

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7. Snoqualmie Falls

At 269 feet, this is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state and as a barrier to salmon migration, this was also a traditional gathering site of several area Tribes for untold centuries.

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8. Northwest Railway Museum

Built in 1890, the Snoqualmie Depot has been restored to its turn of the century grandeur, and functions as an operating train station and museum.

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9. Meadowbrook Farm Preserve

Meadowbrook Farm is 460 acres of scenic and historic public open space on the Snoqualmie Valley floor, located within the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend. By oral tradition the birthplace of the Snoqualmie Tribe, "Hyas Kloshe Ilahee" (the Great Good Land) was maintained for thousands of years by the Snoqualmies as a hunting and food gathering prairie. Early white settlers homesteaded the prairie for farms, and these were consolidated during the late 1800's to form the world's largest hop ranch. Subsequent farmers raised crops, dairy herds, greenchop and hay.

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10. Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum

The Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum came into being as the result of the initial work of one woman, Ada Snyder Hill. She came into the Valley in 1910 to teach school and early on began collecting the historic items that made up the exhibit she arranged for the 1939 celebration of the platting of North Bend. They were the nucleus for the present day collection that includes cherished artifacts and anecdotes from all corners of the Snoqualmie Valley.

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11. North Bend

The cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend will look familiar to anyone who recalls David Lynch’s somewhat macabre television series “Twin Peaks.” Here, you’ll find the restaurant referred to in Agent Cooper’s famous line, “A good cherry pie and a “damn fine cup of coffee.”
Outdoor enthusiasts have long flocked to North Bend for its extensive trail system including the 29-mile hiking and biking Snoqualmie Valley Trail. But the best-known trail here is the one that takes visitors to the summit of Mount Si, the mountain in North Bend’s backyard. Said to be the most-climbed mountain in the United States, Mount Si offers glorious views from its summit, extending all the way to Puget Sound. With a 3,700-foot elevation change, the 8-mile round-trip hike is particularly popular on summer days, but it’s also open during winter and spring.
The trail leads to the summit ridge at the base of the so-called “Haystack.” From there, the short ascent to the actual summit is a scramble that can be dangerous in wet or snowy conditions.

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12. Mount Si Hiking

To call Mount Si a popular trail is an understatement. It is hiked each year by upwards of 100,000 people. Its rugged beauty and its proximity to Seattle all but guarantee that the parking lot is overflowing on any nice (and many a not-so-nice) day.

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13. Rattlesnake Ledge

This trek to a classic overlook of Rattlesnake Lake and Mt. Si is one of the area's most popular hikes. The views from this well-groomed, busy trail also include Cedar River watershed, Mount Washington, and Chester Morse Lake. 

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14. Palouse to Cascades Trail

The Palouse to Cascades Trail  (previously the Iron Horse/John Wayne Pioneer Trail) is a 285 mile rail trail spanning the state of Washington, from the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains to the Idaho border. Designated a National Recreational Trail, it is enjoyed by hikers, horse riders, bikers, Boy Scouts, rail historians, scientists, and trail enthusiasts of all sorts. The trail highlights Washington's diverse and scenic landscape, traveling through evergreen forests and dark tunnels, over high trestles and spectacular rivers, and across open farmland and high desert.

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15. The Summit at Snoqualmie

A winter resort providing alpine skiing and snow-boarding, Nordic skiing, and winter tubing.

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16. Salmon La Sac

Salmon La Sac Campground is situated between the Cle Elum and Cooper Rivers in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Known as the gateway to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, this campground is an ideal place for individuals and families to gather and enjoy the mountains and a multitude of recreational activities at an elevation of 2,300 feet.

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17. Roslyn

This former coal mining community is perhaps best known for the role it played as Cicely, Alaska in the hit TV show Northern Exposure. The town's close proximity to Seattle, nestled in the Cascade Mountains 85 miles east, makes it a fun place to escape from the city. Visitors can enjoy unique experiences like exploring the Roslyn Museum and dining at the Roslyn Cafe, featured prominently on Northern Exposure. Fun fact: In 2009, the band Bon Iver collaborated with musician St. Vincent to record the song "Roslyn" named after the small town. It was featured in the Twilight Saga's film New Moon. 

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18. Cle Elum

Cle Elum is about an hour and a half drive from Seattle and is a popular destination for camping and other outdoor adventures. Cle Elum is home to over 20 historically registered buildings. More information can be found by stopping in to the Visitors Center, which is located in the Chamber of Commerce building. (Details here https://www.discovercleelum.com/blog/cle-elum-visitors-center/) Enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and visits to the multiple parks that Cle Elum has to offer. Main street was the route to and from Seattle before it was bypassed by I-90, several restaurants, a great bakery and the legendary Owen's Meats are still on the must do list of travelers in the know.

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19. Thorp

Thorp is known as an unincorporated community in Kittitas County. It is located at the narrow west end of the Kittitas Valley where high elevation forests of the Cascade Range meet cattle ranches surrounded by farmlands. Things to do in Thorp include visiting the historic Thorp Grist Mill where guests can learn about early days of settlement in the town, and a trip to the Thorp Fruit & Antique Mall for fresh local produce and a selection of vintage and collectible items.

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20. Thorp Grist Mill

The Thorp Grist Mill is the only remaining mill in Washington state that made the transition from stone buhr to modern rollers. Built between 1880 and 1883, the mill has been lovingly restored and maintained so visitors can catch a glimpse of history back to the early days of settlement in the state.

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21. Ellensburg

Located just east of the Cascade Range on Interstate 90, Ellensburg is known as the most centrally located city in the state of Washington. It is home to Central Washington University. Downtown Ellensburg has many historic buildings to see, most of which were constructed in the late 19th century. The Ellensburg Rodeo has been a tradition in the town since 1923, and is the largest rodeo in Washington state. Downtown Ellensburg hosts several annual events including the Winterhop Brewfest in January where beers are served from over 21 microbreweries from around the Pacific Northwest in various historic downtown buildings.

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22. Kittitas County Museum

Housed in the historic 1889 Cadwell Building, the Kittitas County Historical Museum features many exhibits for the public to enjoy, spanning the history of Kittitas County from the distant past to the modern day. There are six exhibit galleries with different offerings in each one.

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