Around Wine Country

6 can't miss stops along the way from Seattle to Walla Walla

May 28, 2018

Planning to drive to Walla Walla from Seattle? Don’t wait till you arrive to start your vacation. Begin enjoying the journey as soon as you leave home with these fun stops along the way. The drive from West to East will take you from the coast, through the Cascade Mountains and forests into the Eastside’s arid climate with dramatic shifts in landscape.

Snoqualmie Falls

Just 30 minutes outside of Seattle and a short drive off I-90 (take Exit 25), if you haven’t seen it yet, this famous 270-foot waterfall is worth the stop. With an observation deck, restrooms and gift shop.

Snoqualmie Pass

About an hour into your drive is its highest point, the Cascade Mountain's Snoqualmie Pass, with impressive views of the Enchantments. If you need a break, get off at Exit 52 and grab a craft beer and quick bite at Dru Bru’s slope-side taproom.

Yakima AVA and beer country

Get off the main highway to visit some of the charming little towns of Central Washington. Leave I-90 for I-82 at Ellensburg and travel through the Yakima Valley, home to the Yakima Valley AVA and 75 percent of the country’s hops, which you'll see growing along the highway on their 20-foot poles. If you visit Yakima, stop into Bale Breaker Brewing, in the middle of their family’s fourth-generation hop farm. If you’re hungry, grab a tamales in Union Gap’s James Beard award-winning Los Hernandes Tamales.

Take the road less traveled, and meander through the farming communities on Wine Country Road, which parallels I-82. This way you won’t miss wine tasting rooms tucked into vineyards, the Chucker Cherries factory and gift shop, and great little surprise finds like Prosser’s Davy’s Burger Ranch, with local fried asparagus and pumpkin milk shakes.

Hanford Reach & the Columbia River

Or stay on I-90 as it winds along the canyons of the Pacific Northwest’s largest river, the Columbia. Several rest and picnic areas afford magnificent vistas along the way, include the first, Wild Horses Monument. Getting closer to Tri-Cities, you’ll drive alongside the Hanford Reach National Monument, then stop in at the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center in Richland, where you'll not only learn about the history of the Manhattan project, but the unique geologic history of the landscape and the Ice Age floods that created it.

Red Mountain AVA

Before you reach Walla Walla AVA, you’ll travel near Red Mountain AVA in Benton City and Richland, part of Yakima Valley AVA and one of Washington’s smallest AVAs. Sample its bold reds and take in the unique vista at Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard.

Almost There

While admiring the rolling hills, wheat and sweet onion fields of Touchet and Lowden, you might want to stop into a few of Walla Walla Valley's Westside Wineries, include Woodward Canyon, one of the Valley’s first and L’Ecole No. 41, housed in the historic Lowden schoolhouse. Visits to Whitman Mission National Historic Site and Frenchtown Historical Site will acquaint you with the area’s rich heritage and history.

Then you’re just a ten-minute’s drive from check in at the Marcus Whitman, the first downtown building to come into view.