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Practical Information

While clearly the most exciting part of planning your vacation is choosing all the fun activities, beautiful places to visit and spend the night, but we know like the saying goes, "the devil is in the details". We always hope all of our planning makes for 100% seamless experiences, but we know life has its own plans sometimes, you know, like when the sky fills with ominous clouds that were NOT in your plans and forecast is key, when you learn you maybe aren't the world's best mountain biker and need to get some medical attention, or when you are in the tail end of your trip and feeling pretty smug about how perfect your timing was under you roll up to that line of backed up cars because of road construction. Spend a little time making note of some of these important practical planning resources. We promise you will be happy that you did!

Need to Know Info

Accessing the Cascade Loop


  • Nobody plans to have a medical emergency when they're on vacation BUT just in case, it's a good idea to know exactly how to get help. Need an ambulance? Dial 911! Need to take yourself in to seek care for an illness or non-emergency injury? Consult this list of hospitals and medical care facilities around the Cascade Loop.

Permits & Passes

  • A lot of Cascade Loop travelers come visit because of the copious amount of hiking, climbing, fishing, rafting, and riding opportunities there are all the way around the byway. Make sure to do your homework though and have your permits and passes in-hand for your trip. Getting a ticket is NOT the souvenir you want to take home!

Phone Service & Cell Reception

  • Because the Cascade Loop is 440-miles long and crosses all manner of terrain, you might very well find yourself out of reception on occasion. Plan for black-out zones. If you get your GPS Aps started when you are close to town, it should still help you navigate the non-receptive parts of the Loop. 

Roadway Conditions & Travel Alerts

  • One of the reasons road trippers love the Cascade Loop is because the roads are in such great condition. The reason for that though is because the Washington State Department of Transportation is pretty darned diligent about maintaining the roadways. We like this because we like safe roads. We go crazy though because when we have construction on the roads, we experience slowdowns and stops. This is no fun when you didn't plan for it. It isn't too bad when it's on your radar and you have plenty of time built in to your schedule and you have new podcasts and/or music to listen to. Check with the WSDOT regularly leading up to your trip to ensure the smoothest itinerary possible.

Electric Vehicle Charging

  • The Cascade Loop is the perfect road trip to really get the most of your electric vehicle investment -- we have amazing views, activities, great roads and importantly, copious charging options all the way around the the Loop! Take time before your trip to organize your charging plan. Where will you charge? How long? And what will you do while your vehicle charges? Click here for a list of charging stations you can choose from as you start building your charging plan.


  • The Cascade Loop is BIG and it traverses wildly different landscapes throughout the state. This means we can experience wildly different weather in one day all the way around the Loop. Watch the weather forecasts as plan your trip and importantly, as the dates get closer.

What time of year is best for visiting (when there aren’t travel restrictions due to COVID-19)?
It depends on a LOT. Spring is ideal for seeing wildflowers, baby animals, cool weather, berries, and, of course, daffodils and tulips in the Skagit Valley.
Summer is perfect for water sports, fishing, cycling, hiking in higher elevations, and community farmers markets.
Autumn is brilliant with fall foliage, brisk weather, apple and pear harvest, and Crush in wine country. (So many wineries around Lake Chelan—so little time!)
Winter sees the North Cascades Highway close (see next page for Travel Advisory) but not to worry—simply backtrack at this time of year. The largest Nordic ski trail system in North America—Methow Trails—is on the Cascade Loop, plus there are a variety of downhill skiing and snowboarding resorts, trails for snowshoeing, hills for sledding, and don’t forget ice skating!

Can my RV or travel trailer handle the Cascade Loop?
Absolutely! Our scenic byway is comprised of well-maintained roadways courtesy of our friends at WSDOT and we have all manner of RV-equipped campgrounds on and near the byway.

What’s the best way to travel the Loop?
Counter-clockwise (so you have the easiest access to our most iconic views!)

What if the hiking trail I want to visit is over crowded?
Before you leave home, download the TREAD MAP App! TREAD Map is a one-stop, comprehensive, recreation mapping app for all trail users, for all seasons. Informed by land managers and local enthusiasts, TREAD Map offers up-to-date recreation maps, custom layers, trail conditions, current safety information, community events and volunteer opportunities. 

What if I hear about fires on the Cascade Loop?
The footprint of the Cascade Loop is 440-miles of highway, covering six counties and hundreds of thousands of acres. If you hear about fires affecting one part of the Loop, chances are, most of the rest of the Loop will be unaffected. The best way to find out? The TREAD Map App -- it will provide information from land managers and fire districts about where the roads may be closed, and where travel may be restricted. 

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