Posts Tagged ‘White Pass’

Scenic Road Trip -Tour 3 Washington State Mountain Passes

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
This road trip is a 3 1/2 hour circle drive from the Yakima Valley over three scenic mountain passes, White Pass Scenic Byway Hwy 12, Cayuse Pass Hwy 123, Chinook Pass Hwy 410.  Expect the most spectacular scenery in Washington State. The Cascade Mountain Range is a relatively young mountain range of basalt rock, steep and forested.  High meadows and passes in the mountain range are at 5,000 and 6,000 feet.

Description of the driving tour: You will be driving White Pass Scenic Byway first, Cayuse Pass, and then the Chinook Pass Scenic Byway. There are endless alternative side trips and activities, including hiking, climbing, photography, and camping, as well as short walks to scenic attractions.
Start:  Yakima, on I-82 West, to Hwy 12 west, 20 miles to the junction of Hwy.12 and Hwy. 410. 

McIlrath Fruit Stand at the intersection of Hwy 12 and Old Naches Hwy and offers a variety of valley farm fresh fruit and produce.  In approximately 10 miles reach the town of Naches. Thompsons Farm Market offers local farm fresh produce, their own family farm grown tree ripened fruit and gifts, wine and wine tasting. 

At the junction of Hwy 12 and Hwy 410, turn left onto White Pass Hwy 12.  Immediately on your left, view the spectacular Tieton extruded rock formations known as Royal Columns, popular with rock climbers. There is hiking and mountain biking trail called the Tieton Nature Trail.  On your right (north) is the Oak Creek Game Range, a very large wildlife management area operated by the State Department of Wildlife.  This is an attraction during winter months when large numbers of elk are feed and an interpretative center with information on the local wildlife.

Proceeding up Hwy. 12,  view volcanic rock formations, a rapid change in vegetation from sagebrush to the alpine firs at the summit.

Bordering the road on the south is the Tieton River, is a major rafting attraction during the month of September, when large amount of water is released from the dam at Rimrock Lake to irrigate the vineyards and orchards in the Yakima Valley.  This release of water is called “Flip Flop by the locals. (Book your white water adventure here.)
Rimrock Lake, behind the Rimrock Dam is a summer recreation area with boat launches, beaches, camping and cabins.The Rimrock Dam, built in 1925 to serve the Yakima-Tieton Irrigation Project, was the largest earth-filled dam in the world at that time. 

You will cross The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, just before the summit at White Pass Ski Area.
Once over the summit at White Pass, look south for a spectacular view of the Goat Rocks, and a scenic viewpoint for Mt. Rainier. The highway descends along the bank of the deep cleft Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River, originating at the Cowlitz Glacier on Mt Rainier.
At about 61 miles from the junction of Hwy 12 and 410 there is a viewpoint for The Palisades, a spectacular showing of tall rock columns. Look for the signs announcing this viewpoint on the downhill (left) side of the road. There is a nice pull off from the highway here with picnic tables. In 2.5 miles, turn right from White Pass Hwy 12 onto Hwy.123, Cayuse Pass and the Ohanapecosh Campground. Vegetation is thick, near rain forest ecosystem with very large trees. Going straight, instead of turning onto Hwy 123 Cayuse Pass,  takes you to the city of  Packwood with groceries, restaurants, gas and lodging at the Crest Trail Lodge.
Ohanepecosh Campground and Visitor Center, a Mt. Rainier National Park campground is a favorite because of its large trees and location along the Ohanepecosh River. Pronounced like, “Oh Hannah by gosh”. There is a visitor’s center with detailed information on Mt.Rainer and the park.

Continue on Highway 123 for 11 miles to the junction with Hwy. 410. Turn right to Chinook Pass.

Chinook Pass:

The Chinook Pass Scenic Byway is generally open by Memorial Day, and usually remains open through October. . The steep highway jumps rapidly up the switchbacks as you quickly enter a zone of sub-alpine vegetation. Peak flower blooms are in late July and August. It is  3 miles to Tipso Lake parking area and another 1/2 mile to the parking area on the east side just past the footbridge, which is part of  the Pacific Crest Trail. There are many hiking options in this area.  One short trip offering beautiful photo opportunities is the Naches Peak Loop Trail at the top of Chinook Pass. Further down the Chinook Scenic Byway closer to the hamlet of Cliffdell is the Boulder Cave Hike.Note: Boulder Cave is closed until 2015

At milepost 108.6 there is a new section of road due to a massive landslide which covered the highway and altered the course of the Naches River.  Looking north one can see the scar the landslide on the hill. Further down the road is the Woodshed Restaurant at Eagle Rock Resort , offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, a lounge, and camping.
At the junction of Hwy 410 and Hwy 12, continue straight toward the cities of Naches and Yakima.   

For more information on Hikes along this route:

Naches Ranger District Hiking Trails
White Pass Scenic Byway Hiking Map
Mt Rainier Hiking Trails

The Yakima Valley blog articles feature members of the Yakima Valley Tourism. If you would like to receive information regarding membership, Click here, or to request a membership application, please contact Stephanie Gangle at (509) 575-3010.

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Hakuna Some Powder! (It Means Ski A Day With World Class Skier Andy Mahre)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Yakima Valley Tourism Office Hosts Giveaway to Ski a Day with World Class Skier, Andy Mahre, on His Home Mountain, White Pass

Andy Mahre
(photographer Jason Hummel)

The winner of the giveaway (and 3 friends) will receive a private day of skiing with world class skier, Andy Mahre, on his home mountain, White Pass Ski Area in February, 2014.

“White Pass is home to some of the best skiing in the region and home mountain to the Mahre family.” says John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley tourism office. “You have families and top notch professionals that ski there repeatedly during the season.”

Lift tickets, ski equipment rental, food and beverage, a gas card, Downtown Yakima lodging and VIP Wine Tasting of Yakima Valley award-winning wines will all be included as part of the private ski day giveaway with Andy.


Andy Mahre
(photographer Jason Hummel)

Andy Mahre –Hakuna Some Powder!

Andy has skied professionally for over 9 years. He grew up in Naches, 16 miles from Yakima, WA and his home mountain is nearby White Pass on Highway 12.  Andy is a kind, mellow, humble guy  raised by Olympic greatness.  His father Steve Mahre being a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics only slightly behind his twin brother and Andy’s uncle Phil Mahre, Olympic gold medalist.  All of the Mahre’s call White Pass home.

“Hukana Some Powder!” You know the song and the local tourism bureau coined the phrase for Andy’s effortless “no worries” approach to powder skiing. You will see Andy in many Warren Miller productions as well as ski movies by Poorboyz Productions, Matchstick Productions, Teton Gravity Research, and Nimbus Independent.

He is only 29 years old and currently sponsored by the greats in skiing -K2, Eddie Bauer/First Ascent, Dakine, Marker, and Evo. The Yakima Valley is very proud of this local phenomenon and invite you to enter to win a day skiing with Andy on his home mountain, White Pass!

Enter for a chance to ski with World Class Skier, Andy Mahre, at

Promotion Contact:

Kirsten Danielson, Director of Marketing
Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau
10 N 8th Street
Yakima, WA 98901

Rock Climbing: The Royal Columns

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

The Royal Columns are impressive volcanic columns of the Tieton lava flow. Located on the White Pass Scenic Byway,(mp 183.5) these vertical columns and other climbing locations along the Tieton River, offer 400 routes on 21 different formations over andesitic rock crags. This location is conveniently 15 minutes west of the city of Naches and 30 minutes from Yakima. To reach the Royal Columns, drive 3 miles on Hwy 12, west of the junction of Hwy 12 and Hwy. 410 to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. The Tieton Nature Trail is located across the road from Oak Creek, and the columns are located just off this trail.

The Royal Columns may be seasonally closed for nesting raptors from February 1 to April 1 each year; if an active nest is near a crag, climbing may not be allowed until July 1.(for current  Information call (509) 653-2390).  Located on land administered by The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, a vehicle access permit is required to park at the Royal Columns ($10/year).

Camping is available in the area at the Windy Point Campground, which is the closest campground to the columns. There are many other campgrounds along Hwy 12.

For more technical information on the Royal Columns Climb:

The Yakima Valley blog articles feature members of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. If you would like to receive information regarding membership, Click here, or to request a membership application, please contact Michele Hopkins at (509) 575-3010.

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