At the crest of the Cascades, US-2 climbs over 4,061-foot Stevens Pass, the highest and northernmost Cascade pass that’s kept open year-round. Stevens Pass was also a historically vital railroad crossing, though Amtrak and other trains now avoid the pass, detouring instead through an eight-mile-long tunnel cut through the mountains in 1929. In 1910, before the completion of the tunnel—the longest still in use in the western hemisphere—the pass was the site of the worst avalanche disaster in U.S. history: 96 passengers and railroad workers were killed by a mile-long snow slide.

Besides providing grand views of the nearby peaks and more distant valleys, Stevens Pass is also a popular ski area (206/634-1645) with 10 chair lifts, reasonable rates, a terrain park, and a 1,800-foot vertical drop. In summer, the slopes convert to a mountain-biking terrain park.