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Sea to Sky Road Trip: Take Two

Travel from the Salish Sea to the Cascade Mountains along a river valley.

Highway 2 climbs from the Salish Sea to the Cascades. Along the way, travelers can see the natural wonder that brings the true PNW to “top of mind” for adventurers in search of green, photogenic beauty.

Here’s a step-by-step itinerary for road trippers looking to make the most of their way through this scenic throughway.


Start in Everett, Washington, and head east on Highway 2, bound for the Cascade Mountains. Everett is a seaside city with a vintage feel of brick buildings and a new flavor of hipster cafes and vintage boutiques. Grab a cup of a few shots of top-quality caffeine at Narrative Coffee (2927 Wetmore Ave, Everett, WA 98201) before you go.

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Detour to Snohomish for the Pilchuck River Park

169 Cypress Ave, Snohomish, WA 98290

This cool stream in Snohomish is reddish-brown and has just the right amount of current to wash your summer cares downstream. Restore and reward yourself on the banks of the Pilchuck River, accessible right off the main drag in Snohomish.

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Dive at Lake Tye Park, Monroe

14964 Fryelands Blvd, Monroe, WA 98272

Lake Tye is right off of Highway 2 as you enter the town of Monroe. The manmade lake is perfect for stand up paddle boarding, jet skiing, motorboating, and wakeboarding. There’s also a skate park, sandy beaches for families, mountain views, and a playground. A walking trail around the lake leads you to several restaurants right on the water.

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Lunch at Good Brewing in Sultan

410 Main Street, Sultan, WA 98294

The best place to stop to or from Stevens Pass for beer, food, and coffee. This place has an authentic down-home vibe with no-frills food perfect for filing you up before your mountain adventure.

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Stock up in Startup and Sultan

36023 Old Sultan-Startup Rd, Sultan, WA 98294

Startup is a blink-and-you-miss-it spot in the road. And you won’t want to miss it.

Check out the Alpen Drive-In (36023 Old Sultan-Startup Rd). Allegedly, they have the best milkshakes on the Highway 2 corridor. Honey, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, and more from surrounding valleys—truly local producers—all sold from a VW bus in the parking lot of the Alpen Drive-In.

Learn how to ride at Skyland Ranch

43100 Reiter Rd, Gold Bar, WA 98251

Buy smoked salmon and meats on the side of the road in Gold Bar, Washington. Stop at Skyland Ranch to rent a horse and hit the trails between Gold Bar and the neighboring town of Index. The equestrian way offers a slow-moving route for prime northwest nature viewing.

The ranch offers introductory horseback riding lessons for newbies. Call ahead and schedule and appointment then hit the trails in the forest.

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Dine at Cabbage Patch Restaurant

111 Ave A #2925, Snohomish, WA 98290

The Cabbage Patch restaurant is where the locals know to go for raw oysters, American foods and slices of pie — homemade since the 1970s. This victorian-style house is said to be haunted by a ghost. Check out the interior of the building for a vintage vibe and a stick-to-your ribs Americana meal.

Where to lodge

Plan your stay through Seattle NorthCountry.


Painting the Sky (Valley)

Not many artists can say they’ve painted the sky. See the Skykomish Valley brought to life with a brush stroke.

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Imagine floating effortlessly between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. Snohomish is the place for hot air balloon adventures.

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