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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Here are the 3 best scenic drives for fall foliage in WA, new national survey shows

Fall colors begin to set in around Snoqualmie Falls.  (Tribune News Service)
By Rosemary Montalvo (tacoma) News Tribune

As we enter the fall season in Washington, everything around us begins to change. The days are cooler, the air is crisp, the rainy weather begins to set in and many of the trees that surround us begin their colorful transformation.

Whether you’re new to the Evergreen State, are experiencing the change in foliage for the first time or have lived here your entire life, the bright colors that blanket the trees are mesmerizing. But where are the best places to see autumn colors in Washington?

Gunther VW Creek surveyed 3,000 people to create a list that rates the top 140 scenic drives for fall foliage across the country. Here are the top three scenic drives in Washington from that survey.

Snoqualmie Pass Scenic Byway

Snoqualmie Pass Scenic Byway was ranked 27th on Gunther VW Creek’s list for best places to see fall foliage. It was also ranked the best overall place for autumn colors in the state.

Snoqualmie Pass Scenic Byway follows Interstate 90 from Issaquah to the Kittitas Valley. Snoqualmie Pass is the mountain pass that takes I-90 from Seattle to Spokane.

This scenic drive features views of the forested Cascade Mountains and foothills and has about 100 scenic walking trails for people who want to enjoy the views on foot.

North Cascades Scenic Byway

North Cascades Scenic Byway was ranked 100th on the list and the second best scenic drives for fall foliage in the state. Located on the Cascade Loop on state Route 20 , the North Cascades Highway takes you through the North Cascades National Park. The park is filled with forests, cascading waterfalls, mountain peaks and valleys.

The North Cascades Highway is usually closed from late November or early December through April or early May due to hazardous driving conditions, according to the National Park Service.

Methow Valley

The third-best scenic route for fall foliage in Washington state, and placing 122nd overall on the list, is Methow Valley. Methow Valley is also located on the Cascade Loop on Highway 20 in northern Washington, but it offers different scenery.

Methow Valley is known for its grasslands, shrubs, alpine glaciers and panoramic valleys, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This route has six scenic viewpoints for travelers to enjoy.