Explore the area along the Cayuse Pass - Visit Rainier

Explore the area along the Cayuse Pass

How one family discovered a delicious lunch, sketched a waterfall, scored some great photos and ended the day with a sweet treat.

When the news that SR410 / the Cayuse Pass had opened and the forecast called for sunshine with clear skies, I packed my family in the car and hit the road for a family fun day. On our way towards Cayuse we stopped in the town of Enumclaw where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Kelly’s Mercantile. The kid’s menu featured my daughter’s favorite entrée, “Merc. And Cheese,” the name made her giggle. Hubby and I tucked into a couple of scrumptious sandwiches. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere and relaxed vibe. When I saw the mouthwatering 5-course wine maker’s menu I made a mental note to get tickets for this special event scheduled for June.

After we properly fortified our bodies, we hit the road again in search of our first waterfall along the byway, Skookum Falls. The perfect weather invited us to sit alongside the river, snap selfies and sketch the falls. The sound of the water, the breeze and the fresh air all made for a pleasant stop.

The scenic viewpoints along the Cayuse Pass were stunning! I can see how the pull-outs which allow vehicles to stop along the viewpoints could get congested during the busy summer weekends. If visitors want to capture a good photo I suggest visiting the area mid-week or planning on getting to the pass early in the day.

Crystal Mountain will open for the summer season on June 23. We made plans to return to this area with our Northwest Forest Pass (available for sale in Greenwater at at the Greenwater General Store) so that we can venture into the forest trails. We also plan to stay overnight in order to properly explore the whole area – there’s so much to see and do! It became evident that families could easily stay a few nights in this area to ride the scenic gondola, walk the trails, picnic in the forest, and much more. We continued as far as the road would allow. Chinook Pass is scheduled to open on Friday June 9 at 8:00 AM. And that day can’t come soon enough.

On our return trip, we made another stop in Enumclaw, this time to stroll the streets of downtown, shop, play a sidewalk piano and visit Sweet Necessities for a delicious (and generous) scoop of ice cream. The family and I gave the whole excursion two ice-cream-covered thumbs up.