It's hard to rate this one. Having been to the East Coast during the "Leaf Peeper" season, this one falls a bit short. The color really depends on the season. If our rain starts in September or off and on during August, the colors can be glorious----Washington glorious (mostly yellow), not East Coast glorious. The scenery is beautiful to me because I love mountains in any way, shape or form; and I'm an avid hiker so I'm always on the look-out for possible hiking areas. For scenery this is definitely pretty and once over the mountains the drier east side in this northern part of Washington is quiet and serene---very pretty in a lonesome way. But for astounding, breathtaking views from the CAR, it's pretty hard to beat Chinook Pass down by Mt. Rainier. In my opinion it's prettier but the traffic is horrendous in the summer. Nasty, nasty. On the NCH the road after a bit takes on a country road feel from all the harsh winters; curvy, narrow, a little irregular. Travel is slow from the numerous lumbering motor homes negotiating the very windy, up and down, narrow roads. But there are many turnouts for picture taking and about the time you're ready to pull your hair out, you'll find you're entering sweet little Winthrop. Many shops and a delicious ice cream cone will prepare you for the battle with the motor homes and PACKS of Harleys headed back over the pass. Travelers get an early start (6 AM) to race each other for the front of the line, but evening travel can be a little lighter.
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