The mountain passes are recreation destinations during the winter, but there's plenty to do in the summer as well.
Meet Cle Elum. Just an hour-and-a-half from Seattle, the former coal mining and timber town is our new secret getaway. And now yours.
GET A BREW
The Brick, located in the nearby town of Roslyn, is the oldest operating tavern in the state of Washington, with a bar more than a century old equipped with a running water spittoon. It's the only dive we've ever been in with an actual jail cell in the basement.
100 W Pensylvania Ave., Roslyn (509-649-2643)
HIT THE GRILL
You're not going to get Michelin stars out here, but for hearty, satisfying fare the 2R Bar and Bistro can't be beat. Their coffee-seasoned steak is damn good, and the biscuits and gravy will give you all the fuel you need for a day out in the mountains.
719 S 1st St., Roslyn (509-649-3311)
CAST A LINE
Fishing is one of the prime reasons to head out to the area, and the angling for rainbow and cutthroat trout in the Yakima River is insanely great. Stop by the Troutwater Fly Shop to get kitted up, or hire a guide if you want to know where the day's sweet spots are.
113 East First St., Cle Elum (509-674-2144)
GRAB SOME MEAT
Since 1887, Owen's Meats has been producing the best cured meats in Washington, and they still do things the old-fashioned way in their Cle Elum smokehouse. The beef jerky here is thick, soft, and amazingly spiced. Buy a few pounds to make your foodie friends at home jealous.
502 E 1st St., Cle Elum (509-674-2530)
Far and away the best place to stay is Suncadia. This billion-dollar resort and planned community hasn't taken off as quickly as they would've liked, but the completed Lodge is a gorgeous place to spend the night, with views of the river and valley below and some of the softest hotel beds you've ever slept in.
3600 Suncadia Tr., Cle Elum (506-649-6400)