For a fascinating 26-mile side trip away from busy Highway 2, head up Beckler River Road, which starts a half mile east of Skykomish . The road (Forest Road 65) climbs 13 miles up—the last five are dusty gravel—along the river into Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest  before switchbacking over Jack Pass and down the Galena Road.
A forest lookout tower atop Evergreen Mountain can be reached via a 1.5-mile one-way hike from the end of Evergreen Mountain Road 6554. The road takes off to the right (east) from Beckler River Road just before you reach Jack Pass. The trail gains 1,300 feet in elevation, but on a clear day the 360-degree view includes Glacier Peak and Mt. Rainier. Regrettably, this trail is open to off-road vehicles. The lookout tower is available for rent (360/677-2414).
Privately owned Garland Hot Springs (near Jack Pass) has a few old buildings and a caretaker who shoos away stray tourists. A mile down Galena Road is primitive San Juan Campground ($12), with no running water. Two miles farther downhill is Troublesome Creek Campground (518/885-3639 or 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov , $16, $9 extra reservation fee).
Also here is Troublesome Creek Nature Trail, a delightful half-mile path through rainforest and canyon. Beyond the campgrounds, Galena Road parallels the North Fork Skykomish River for 10 miles—paved the entire way—ending at Highway 2 near the town of Index . You can also camp for free anywhere on Forest Service land. Just look for the side roads heading into the woods.