Rainy Pass

This is a ride I did last July (7/8/2012), and apparently never got around to writing about, probably because the photos wound up not being as spectacular as the ones from other rides. 😦 Yesterday was a sunny day, with a clear blue sky and glorious views of the surrounding mountain ranges, and as I’ve been sitting in front of a computer most of the day for work, my mind has wandered toward the high country. Also, I miss summertime.

Last year I spent four days camping in the North Cascades at Diablo Lake (Colonial Creek Campground) and used the time to enjoy two great road rides. One of these was a short and sweet climb over Rainy Pass.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

Snowy, craggy peaks above the North Cascades Highway, heading east.

Rainy is one of the two passes along SR-20, move lovingly known as the (gorgeous) North Cascades Highway. The road mostly follows valleys, but must cross two ridges, first over Rainy Pass and then Washington Pass, before it descends into the Methow Valley.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

Rainy Pass on a hot day, with July snow.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

Rainy Pass and surroundings.

I didn’t ride that far, though. My excuses are that I had enjoyed a long and difficult ride (almost 4,000 feet elevation gain over the course of about 20 miles, followed by a screaming descent) a couple of days ago, and wanted to save my strength for an attempt (I made it!) on Cascade Pass the next day under very heavy snow. Also, I’m from Seattle, the land of rain, and the sun was taking a lot out of me.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

The descent; looking west from Rainy Pass while heading back toward my start at the Easy Pass trailhead.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

Peak after snowy peak, with western conifer forest rising up to cover the mountains.

This ride doesn’t go over the Cascade Crest however, it’s entirely within warmer eastern Washington, and, on the day I rode here, it was near 100 degrees F from the start of my ride to the end. If you venture out this way, you’ll find a wide open road, almost never level, and you’ll be able to ride as far as your mood carries you.

Snowy peaks above SF 20

Peak after snowy peak, with western conifer forest rising up to cover the mountains.

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4 thoughts on “Rainy Pass

    • Thanks! The North Cascades (I call the place “Glacierland”) is one of my favorite places on earth. They’re hoping to have the road opened in a week or two, I’m looking forward to heading back up soon. Especially with the luxurious evening light we’re starting to enjoy…

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