Seattle —> Walla Walla, via Mt. Rainier & Gifford Pinchot Nat’l Forests
We decided to skip the main highways and go through the forests and over the mountains to Walla Walla, WA, our first stop. Why take I-90 on a holiday weekend when everyone is headed out to Sasquatch when you can take the scenic route?
The drive itself, with pit stops (one of which was Hogue Winery, since it’s my namesake and all), was about 6-7 hours long. We headed out just after 9am from Seattle and arrived in Walla Walla around 3:30/4pm. I’d never driven through Rainier, so it was fantastic to see everything out there. It was definitely still snowy at the top, and we chose to take the lower of the two passes as the higher one (staying on Hwy 410) had only opened for the year at noon the day before.
The sun was out though, and the landscape was gorgeous. The drive takes you through the farms of Auburn and Enumclaw before you hit the forest, and then up the mountains for great views, and back down again into the desert. We rolled a good 2-3 hours in the desert (Eastern side of WA) before hitting Walla Walla.
I chose Walla Walla because although we could have easily stayed in the Tri-Cities, where the Columbia River really kicks off, I had never been out to the wine country out East and was interested in checking it out. It really was the best decision. Walla Walla is an adorable little town with a surprising amount to do to fill up an evening and consecutive morning.
We managed to get in a wine tasting at Charles Smith Wines before the tastings all closed down, then walked up and down the main street in downtown Walla Walla before grabbing dinner. We spent the remainder of the evening wandering around Whitman College’s campus, which is gorgeous.
The next morning we went to Pioneer Park in the middle of town, which houses a Pheasant and bird Aviary. It was so much fun to see and hear the birds (we even ran into a few bunnies and VERY friendly squirrels). This part of the trip was pretty straight forward and relaxing.
I do recommend Bacon & Eggs if you ever find yourself needing breakfast out there. It’s a cute spot with some awesome items on the menu. My cheesy shrimp & grits were just what I needed/wanted to kick the morning off with. Mmm Mmm Mmm!