Mar 262017
North Cascades Highway view of the big loop at Early Winters from the Washington Pass lookout

North Cascades Highway through Early Winters Valley, with winter snow; Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington.

Washington State Department of Transportation announced that the snow plowing on North Cascades Highway will not be able to begin until around April 10 this year. Furthermore, the snow is so deep this year that it might be June before State Highway 20 is fully cleared.

In a more normal weather year, the WSDOT crews start working to clear the road in mid-March. Besides the deep snow, they have to contend with the danger of avalanches at several locations in the high Cascades.

Check the WSDOT website for current road conditions and more information about traveling in Washington.

Apr 142013
Lupine and Balsamroot, Tom McCall Preserve

Lupine and Balsamroot, Tom McCall Preserve








Spring is finally here and wildflowers are popping up in many parts of the Pacific Northwest. Some of the best known displays of flowers, like those at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, won’t happen for several months yet, but in lower elevation meadows, prairies, and wetlands the blooming has started and will be at peak for the next month. Wonderful wildflower blossoms can also be seen in the sagebrush-steppe habitat of the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin east of the Cascade Mountains.


Interested in venturing out in search of wildflowers? Here are a dozen of the best places in the northwest USA to find the spring bloom:



What other top places for wildflowers have you found in the northwest?


Apr 042013
Tulip Town field of tulips

Color fields of blossoming tulips at Tulip Town


April is tulip time in Washington’s Skagit Valley, with events scheduled throughout the month for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Two of the largest tulip growers open their farms for visitors, who throng to the fields every weekend. RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town both plant special displays each year which are a visual delight.

The tulips begin blooming in late March and some stay in flower into May, but the middle of April is generally the best time to see the colorful masses of blossoms. The RoozenGaarde website provides a map and bloom update.


Mar 312013
UW Quad with blooming cherry trees

Cherry trees in bloom on the University of Washington Quad

The big, old cherry trees covered with blossoms on the Quad at the University of Washington campus in Seattle is one of the eagerly anticipated signs that spring has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest.

The university arborist is reporting that peak bloom this year is from March 30 to about April 7, so make plans to visit very soon.

Washington Park Arboretum

Cherry tree and joggers on Azalea Way in Washington Park Arboretum

The UW campus isn’t the only good place to see flowering cherry trees. Azalea Way, one of the main paths in nearby Washington Park Arboretum has several great trees along the route. Many other trees and shrubs in the park start blooming soon, too.

Mar 212013

Welcome to Best of the Northwest!

Best Of The Northwest is about travel to and in the wonderful northwest states of the USA, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Plus a bit of southwestern Canada (my Canadian friends get annoyed when I refer to British Columbia as part of the Pacific Northwest).

Best Of The Northwest features the best scenic locations, most enjoyable visitor experiences, top vineyards and wineries, where to find great food and unique lodging.

Whether you’re into luxury travel or budget travel, and whether you’re a long-time resident of the Northwest or visiting for the first time, this site has something for you. Enjoy!