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Teanaway to Seattle

  • Distance: 101 miles
  • Routes: SR 970, Interstate 90, SR 202, SR 203, SR 900
  • Estimated Driving Time: 2 hours

Scrubby pines, with a scattering of willows along the river’s edge, mark the semi-arid country. The highway runs through the flat area marking the western side of the Kittitas Valley and crosses the Cascade Range over Snoqualmie Pass, artery of the heaviest travel between eastern and western Washington. Traversing a vast recreational area of national forests, with many lakes, streams, and rugged mountains, I-90 reaches the summit at 3,004 feet elevation and drops down to the populous region along the eastern shores of Puget Sound.

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East of Cle Elum near the junction of the Teanaway and Yakima Rivers, this town began as a stopping point at the foot of two mountain passes, when four-horse vehicles caromed through the canyons and along the dusty roads. It once was a fairly important place at the time of gold excitement in Blewett Pass to the northeast. The Indian name translates to “place of fish and berries.” The book,...

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At the junction of the Cle Elum and Yakima rivers, this community began to develop in earnest when coal deposits were found for supplying trains traveling through the mountains. Cle Elum began as Clealum, from the Indian Tie-el-Lum, meaning “swift water.” The town retains great examples of buildings that date back to its beginnings as a mining town and railroad stop. Although the first settler, Thomas L. Gambel, a prospector,...

Learn more about Cle Elum
Points of Interest
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Milwaukee Road Bunkhouse

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Cle Elum-Rosyln Beneficial Association Hospital

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Vogue Theater

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Kinney Building

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The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, South Cle Elum Yard

Sidetrip: Roslyn

This 16-mile trip takes you through mining country, including the town of Roslyn, which has a national register historic district and where the TV show Northern Exposure was filmed.

Take the Roslyn side trip

In 1886 the Northern Pacific Railway established Easton as a railroad station near the east end of the Stampede-Cascade tunnel. The city served as a junction point for both the Northern Pacific (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad) and the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroads. The town was virtually destroyed by fire, so most of the buildings were rebuilt in 1934.

Learn more about Easton

Mile: 71

Twelve miles long, at an elevation of 2,222 feet, the lake was formed by a natural dam which a glacial moraine left across a prehistoric river. It was mapped by Captain George B. McClellan as Kahchess Lake during his 1853 survey of the Cascade Mountains, after the Indian name that means “many fish.” McClellan had been asked by Governor Isaac I. Stevens to explore the Cascades and find a pass...

Learn more about Kachess Lake

Mile: 69

This long and narrow lake is at the head of the Yakima River three to four miles east of the crest of the Cascades in northwest Kittitas County. It was a natural lake, but in 1914 the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation raised its level with a dam. The level of the water fluctuates with the seasons. Pyramidal peaks, bristling with greenish-black forest and flecked with snow, are mirrored in the...

Learn more about Keechelus Lake

Mile: 59

Completed in 1951, the Lake Keechelus Snowshed Bridge is the sole remaining snowshed on the state highway system. Located on heavily traveled I-90, the structure is important for protecting motor vehicle traffic from snow slides along this high elevation section of the I-90 corridor. The bridge’s construction also exemplifies innovative use of materials (such as multiple pre-cast roof units) to expedite construction where elevation and the vagaries of weather limit...

Learn more about Lake Keechelus Snowshed Bridge

Mile: 58

A mountain resort at the north end of Keechelus Lake near the east portal of the abandoned Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway tunnel in northwest Kittitas County. The station was named by railroad officials for the nearby creek and lake. Hyak is a Chinook jargon word used for “swift, fast, hurry” and generally refers to creeks that are swift running or bodies of water, such as lakes, connected to...

Learn more about Hyak

Mile: 55

This 3,004-ft. pass is at the crest of the Cascades at the head of the Snoqualmie River drainage to the west and the Yakima River drainage to the east, the highest point on I-90. Snoqualmie has the lowest altitude of the three main passes across the Cascades; and, in the days when travel was slower, it was the first night’s stop east of Puget Sound. Rainfall in this area is...

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Points of Interest
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The Mountaineers Snoqualmie Lodge

Mile: 53

The Snoqualmie River was named for a tribe of Indians who dwelt on this slope. Edmond S. Meany, historian, in giving the origin of the word, said: “The Whites have softened the native word sdob-dwahlb-bluh (Ind. “moon”) which refers to the legend that their people came from the moon.” Indian legend asserts that Si’Beow, the beaver, climbed to the sky, brought the trees and fire to earth, set the sun...

Learn more about Snoqualmie River

Mile: 44

This was the trade center and shipping point of a farming and dairying district and sits in the shadow of craggy Mount Si (4,167 feet), a favorite hiking destination for locals, along with its shorter sister, Little Si (1,576 feet). They were named after homesteader Josiah “Uncle Si” Merritt, who built a cabin at the base of the peak in 1862. The rocky landscape is comprised of metamorphosed remnants of...

Learn more about North Bend
Points of Interest
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North Bend Historic Commercial District

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The North Bend Ranger District

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Si View Park

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Covered Railroad Bridge

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Mount Si Bridge

Mile: 31

The boom days of lumbering and milling formed this town—the first white settlers were the Kellogg brothers, who settled on the prairie above the falls in 1858. As the surrounding country was logged over, the town began to ship more cattle than lumber. Ranches in the hills provided both hogs and steers for Puget Sound packing houses. The local Hop Growers’ Association was incorporated in 1882.

Learn more about Snoqualmie
Points of Interest
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Northwest Railway Museum

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Messenger of Peace Chapel Car

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Snoqualmie Depot

Mile: 27

One of the state’s most popular scenic attractions, Snoqualmie Falls and the surrounding two-acre park includes an observation platform, a hiking trail down to the Snoqualmie River, two historic power plants, and the Salish Lodge. Located just below the junction of the three forks of the Snoqualmie River, the falls cascade 268 feet down. The Snoqualmie Indian name for the top of the falls was Sk-al-dal, meaning lip. Their name...

Learn more about Snoqualmie Falls
Points of Interest
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Snoqualmie Falls Traditional Cultural Place

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Cavity Generating Station

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Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Power Plant Historic District

Mile: 26

Sidetrip: Carnation

This 35-mile round trip takes you through a Scandinavian farming and dairying town founded in 1865 as Tolt. It was renamed after the Carnation dairy company—yes, that Carnation, of instant breakfast fame—which had its dairy farm nearby; in the 1940s, the company boasted of having the world champion milk cow with the best butter fat content.

Take the Carnation side trip

Named for a man named Fall, who established a ferry and road house at a point where a concrete bridge now stands. He formerly was a foreman on cattle drives over Snoqualmie Pass for the Wadley & Phelps Company. The town’s location on the Snoqualmie River, at the spot where the river was no longer passable, gave it the early name “The Landing,” as steamboats ferried supplies up and downstream...

Learn more about Fall City
Points of Interest
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Falls City Masonic Hall

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Neighbor-Bennett House

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Hop Curing Shed

A settlement bordering the millpond of the Preston Mill Company, whose plant overshadowed the village. The town once had a saw mill. It was named by Daniel H. Gilman, for his associate in building the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway through the area, William T. Preston. Mr. Preston served as the district engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War I and was responsible for the...

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Settled in 1862, this town was a trade center for the valley, originally a coal mining and hops-growing community. During the World War, the German Count von Alvenslaben organized the Issaquah and Superior Coal Mining Company, purchasing land and coal rights of a 2,000-acre tract. After more than $1,000,000 had been spent in improvements, the project was abandoned. Issaquah is now growing with Seattle and Bellevue and extends to the...

Learn more about Issaquah
Points of Interest
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Issaquah Sportsmen’s Clubhouse

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Sidetrip: Kirkland

There’s a lot to see in this 44-mile trip, which covers much of the development of the towns on the east side of Lake Washington from former fruit-farming town Bellevue to the town that investors once hoped would become the “Pittsburgh of the West,” Kirkland.

Take the Kirkland side trip

The largest and most active trading center in the vicinity of Seattle, which covers the flats formed by the Cedar River and the former Black River. For years, the main street was flanked with one- and two-story frame buildings reminiscent of another age, but the war boom of the early 1940s brought growth and modernization to the city. Population in the area greatly increased when the Boeing Aircraft Company established...

Learn more about Renton
Points of Interest
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Liberty Park

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Renton Fire Station

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Horse Trough

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Renton History Museum

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Renton Substation of the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company

A residential section of Seattle, southeast of the main business section of the city, between Madrona Park and Jefferson Park. Originally settled by the Hanford and Holgate families, it is one of Seattle’s 12 officially named hills, with a maximum elevation of 336 ft. at Beacon Ave. and Holgate St. It was named by M. H. Young of Boston, part owner of Union Trunk Line, a local electric street car...

Learn more about Beacon Hill

The largest city of the Pacific Northwest, it lies along Elliott Bay, on the east shore of Puget Sound, 128 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Originally built on seven hills, with intervening lowlands, it extends between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, which are joined by two canals and Lake Union. It was named for Noah Sealth, chief of several Native American tribes when Seattle was established in 1851. He was...

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