Among its many attributes, The Evergreen State is a place where the enjoyment of the outdoors is a way of life. The beautiful Cascade Mountain range is known as the “Switzerland of North America,” and can be accessed within a two-hour drive from any metropolitan area in the state. Washington is also the home of majestic Mount Ranier. As the home base of Starbucks, the state serves as the Coffee Capital of the World. This one tank RV trip route from Woodall’s will take you through some of the state’s best scenery.

Our journey begins in the quaint Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, where we can enjoy a European alpine experience without ever getting on a plane. The shops contain authentic Bavarian souvenirs, and the food is also 100% European. In winter, the city comes alive with the Ice Fest; blanketed in fresh snow, the city celebrates the winter season with decorations and festivals. Spring brings the Ale Fest and the Spring Bird Fest. Summer features the Wine Walk and 4th of July extravaganza, while fall sees the return of – naturally – Oktoberfest! This grand spectacle runs the first three weekends of October, and is not to be missed by fans of fine brews and bratwurst.

Getting on the road, head northwest on Highway 2 for a little more than 100 miles, then merge with the southbound I-5 for just under 40 miles, which takes you into Anacortes. The town is home to the Washington State Ferry Terminal; from here you can take a boat ride into British Columbia and visit the capital city of Victoria (don’t forget your passport!). If you do, don’t miss the authentic Russian sub docked near the Parliament building; it’s well worth checking out. Or, you can stay stateside and enjoy various activities like SCUBA diving, sailing, whale watching, or just walking along the beach.

Cruising east on Highway 20, you have the chance to see a great deal of Washington’s rain-fed natural wonder. You’ll be traveling on the North Cascades Scenic Highway through “America’s Alps.” The trip is a solid 150-mile drive, but the destination city of Winthrop is a perfect place to pull over and spend a day or two enjoying the rugged wilderness, where there’s no shortage of fresh, crisp mountain air. There are plenty of places to set up base camp; once that’s accomplished, go rent a couple of horses and explore the mountain trails on horseback. Hot air balloon tours are also available for that eye-in-the-sky view, or stop and grab a map of the various scenic drive trails in the area – just make sure to check which ones are RV-friendly, as some of the scenic drives tend to be a bit narrow for big rigs. At the end of the day, head to one of the mountainside eateries for a glass of wine and a delicious dinner as you watch the sun go down.

The final stop of Chelan lies 50 miles away. Drive south for 11 miles on Highway 20, then merge with the southbound Highway 153 for a little more than 30 miles. Take the westbound Highway 97 the final five miles into Chelan, which is surrounded by the North Cascades National Forest. Nearby Lake Chelan covers 50 miles of area, and is a mile and a half across at its widest point. The remote location and large size ensures that you won’t be climbing over your fellow campers or competing for space. If you rent a boat or a kayak, you’ll see what it’s like to have the entire lake to yourself. Sample local vintages at any of the area wineries; these wines are among the best in the world, and the connoisseur among us will no doubt want to take home a case or two for souvenirs. Lake cruises are a great way to see the massive Lake Chelan and the surrounding wilderness, or maybe you just want to sit at the water’s edge and dangle your feet. That’s the beautiful thing about Lake Chelan, and for that matter, the rest of Washington – if outdoor activities are your idea of a good time, there’s no better place to be!

Where to Stay: There are a couple of good RV parks along this route, in Winthrop and Leavenworth. The Silverline Resort RV Park & Campground welcomes big rigs to their 80-foot-long pull-thru sites with beautiful mountain views. The Pine Village KOA in Leavenworth sits at the foot of the Cascades along the Wenatchee River and has 65-foot-long pull-thru sites.

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  1. Milo

    Great read…. We’ll be up in that area in July and would like to travel from Burlington east on Highway 2 across Washington into Idaho & Montana before heading south back down into New Mexico ( I know yuck huh… but it’s home lol). We were going to travel it last summer but decided not to cuz of concerns about the highway. We pull a 30 ft TT and would like to know about the highway and if there are any concerns about the terrain pulling a 30 ft TT.

  2. Thanks y’all for the awesome tips! Next time I’m in the area I’ll have to pop in for some ice cream at the Sweet Shop.

    Rick, try copy/pasting your comment from a word processing program into the comment box so you won’t lose your draft if the security code resets. I hear ya on how frustrating it is to lose your entire message right at the very end!

  3. What is going on I have tried to post about northern Wash. State & the dam Code keep’s changing where i lose all i had worked so hard to post! THIS AINT FUNNY DAMMIT!

  4. christana Bullock we spend all summer along the 101 through Oregon & Wash. State Beat’s the Humidity in Missouri! We enter all of the lighthouse’s for free we just show our U.S.Army Retired Military I.D.’s & stay at Nation campground’s with my Gold card 5 day’s free, 5 day’s are up move down the road a short piece Then come back for another 5 day Stay! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired! We got Lighthouse’s out the Yazoe! Wife Kinda like’s them!

  5. Sid

    Living just north of Seattle and a few miles from Highway 2, I can tell you that we have taken the rout described many many times and never find it boring.
    I also agree with Tom H. that Riverbend RV Park is a great place to land. It sits along the Methow River, which I fly fish when there.

  6. Tom

    While you are in Winthrop you have to pay a visit to Shari’s Sweet Shop. They have the best home made ice cream and candies of anyplace we have ever visited. Also, get there around 6:30 to 7:00am and have one of their hot, just out of the oven cinnamon rolls that owner Doug just put together and baked. They also have a miniature golf course that is really cute, the kids will love it. You can’t miss their place it’s right on the corner of the main street where you come into town from the Cascades.
    Tell Shari and Doug who are really super folks, that Tom & Carol sent you

  7. Tom Hargreaves

    Don’t forget North Cascades National Park on the way back from Anacortes to Winthrop! One of our newer parks, the views and the mountains are spectacular. If you are going over the North Cascades Highway, if it’s early or late in the year, check to wee whether the highway is open! It can open as late as June and close as early as early Fall due to snow. Finally, we like Riverbend RV Park, in Twisp, just down the road from Winthrop on Highway 20.

    You may be able to make the circuit on one tank, but it may take several weeks because there is so much to see and do!
    Happy trails!