Highway 97 heads south from the Leavenworth area, connecting Highway 2 with I-90. The road climbs 21 miles to 4,102-foot Blewett Pass, a popular area for hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. Blewett Pass Interpretive Trail offers a three-mile loop through high-country forests. Several nearby Forest Service campgrounds (Bonanza, Tronsen, Swauk, and Mineral Springs) have campsites for $12 or less. For more adventure, take the slightly shorter but significantly steeper and more serpentine old highway over Blewett Pass.
The Swauk Forest Discovery Trail is an easy three-mile path at the summit of Swauk/Blewett Pass. The trail passes through both old-growth forests and clear-cuts, and educational signs are scattered along the way.
Blue Creek Road (Road 9738) leads from the Mineral Springs area west approximately seven miles to an old fire lookout on Red Top Mountain, providing vistas in all directions. This is a popular area to search for blue agates and geodes (a.k.a. thunder eggs).
Also nearby is Mineral Springs Resort (509/857-2361, $10 with electric hookups, $8 without), which has RV spaces and good meals. Come winter, this area is popular with snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Sno-Parks at Swauk Campground and Pipe Creek provide skier-only access to many miles of cross-country trails. For details, contact the Forest Service’s Cle Elum Ranger Station (509/674-4411).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition