This circuit includes Seattle's own volcano, Mount Rainier, climbs over the 5,430-foot Chinook Pass, goes through Mount Rainier National Park, and returns via the Puyallup River valley. Park entry fee is for motorcycles. Stop in charming Elbe and take a two-hour steam train ride on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. The best time to visit is summer or early fall.
Approximately 180 miles
Starbucks, 1436 Auburn Way South, Auburn, WA
Excellent burgers and fries served in a genuine 1922 railroad car at the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Company, next to the Scenic Railway Station at 54106 Mountain Highway East, Elbe, WA, (360) 569-2500.
Scenery (5 out of 5)
Spectacular views of Rainier's year-round snow cap from inside the park and from Chinook Pass. View the dramatic variations in the landscape east of the pass.
Traffic (4 out of 5)
Mostly light traffic on weekdays, but try to avoid Auburn in the morning and evening rush hour. RVs are prevalent in summer.
Difficulty (3 out of 5)
Mostly fast, two-lane roads. Mountains make their own weather, so watch for sudden changes. Visibility can be tricky in dense forest sections. Watch for wildlife!
Road Conditions (3 out of 5)
Roads are generally decent but winter plowing can leave patches and potholes. Watch for gravel in turns, especially early in the season. If in doubt, ask locally about current conditions.
Points of Interest
Federation Forest State Park
Explore 600 acres of old growth Douglas Firs on Chinook Scenic Byway (SR 410) in Enumclaw, WA (closed October 1–April 1).
Discover some of the best views of Mount Rainier and appreciate the enchanting wildflower meadows. Visit the historic Paradise Inn in Mount Rainier State Park.
Elbe Evangelical Lutheran Church
Located west of Mount Rainier in Elbe, WA, this tiny white wood church was built by German immigrants and has been a symbol of peace since 1906.
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Enjoy a two-hour train excursion from Elbe on the longest continuously operated steam railroad in the Northwest.
Outdoor recreation areas include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and sightseeing on Orville Road north of Eatonville.