The central part of Washington State is dominated by the mighty Cascade ranges, best experienced from the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway (509 662 3888, cascadeloop.com), an entrancing four-hundred-mile route through the mountains – though the full trip is only feasible during the summer, since at other times snow closes the mountain passes.

The loop begins on Hwy-20 (aka the North Cascades Highway), which runs east from I-5 at Burlington for sixty miles up the Skagit River Valley into the majestic peaks of North Cascades National Park (360 854 7200, nps.gov/noca). Ask about current road and hiking trail conditions at the visitor centre in tiny Newhalem, Hwy-20, milepost 120. Beyond the high passes of the national park, Hwy-20 runs thirty miles down the Methow Valley into the dry, rolling hills of central Washington and one-street WINTHROP, an old mining town officially founded in 1891 and now forever decked out solely in Wild West buildings thanks to a local ordinance.

The fetching resort of CHELAN, sixty miles south of Winthrop, nestles at the foot of Lake Chelan, whose spectacularly deep waters fill a glacially carved trough nestled in the mountains. At the Chelan end the vegetation and low-lying hills are arid and desert-like, and the hotels and small beaches along the lake are hot in summer, making this prime holiday territory.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

Ticked off New York City’s big sights and wondering where to go next? From sinking a pint in Brooklyn's Red Hook to sampling Italian delicacies in The Bronx, …

11 Apr 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
In search of the real Wild West on America's Great Plains

In search of the real Wild West on America's Great Plains

Wild West – we all feel something when we see or hear those words. But why? How much is true and how much is fantasy? Our editor Neil McQuillian took to the (…

06 Apr 2017 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, glaciers to coo over and a bevy of bears to photograph, Alaska is the ultimate wilderness – and this year is the per…

30 Mar 2017 • Sarah Reid camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month