The tour follows the topography high above the Cowlitz River. It follows a course marked by sweeping curves, passes along a series of terraces, formed by ancient floods, and affords glimpses of the broad and deceitfully peaceful Cowlitz, winding slowly southward. The terraces rise from 300 to 400 feet above the flood plains of the river, along which are fertile farmlands, protected by a dike system.
In the 1940s, logging trucks were frequently seen at log dumps tipping their loads into the stream to make up a boom.
Bordering the highway at a few points are prosperous-looking modern homes, in strange contrast to the near wilderness at their back doors; precipitous hills lying rank on rank, have been logged multiple times.