Stevens Pass Greenway and beyond: A fast-charge route through North America’s Alps

Follow this EV-friendly road trip through Washington’s scenic and spectacular byways—even in winter

Photo courtesy of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway

Washington is laced with scenic byways, and thanks to the state’s commitment to creating an electric vehicle network, many of them are great places for EV road trips. This trip follows U.S. Highway 2 from Monroe to Wenatchee in Washington—a route that’s a segment of the Cascade Loop National Scenic Byway and includes the Stevens Pass Greenway, also a National Scenic Byway.  

Related Trails, views, and waterfalls: 10 stops along Washington’s North Cascades Highway

The route winds through the lush forests of Western Washington, the Cascade Mountains—often referred to as North America’s Alps—and the Bavarian village of Leavenworth before entering Cashmere, the Wenatchee Valley, and orchard country. It includes four DC fast-charging stations and two Tesla Supercharger stations, as well as several Level 2 charging stations.  

1. Monroe

Monroe’s status as the unofficial gateway to the Cascades makes it a fitting starting point for this trip. The town also marks the western end of the Stevens Pass Greenway. Like many of the towns along the greenway, Monroe has an old-fashioned, explorable downtown, developed around the turn of the 20th century to support the growing agriculture and timber town. There’s a Tesla Supercharger station just north of Highway 2 at Fred Meyer.

Craggy mountain peaks are covered with snow with a colorful sky full of clouds as the backdrop.
Sunrise highlights Mount Index’s rugged terrain. | Photo: Andy Porter Images

2. Sultan

You’ll find your first fast-charging station in Sultan, located at the Sky Valley Visitor Information Center. Stop in for updates on road, trail, and snow conditions while your car charges. If you’re not ready to get back in the car, stroll through town and visit Kiss the Sky Books, the Flat Iron Gallery, or the Sky Valley Historical Society Museum. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in town, too. For a longer walk, explore Osprey Park, where foot trails lead to the Sultan River.

A steep waterfall cascades down a lush mountainside.
Located near Gold Bar, Washington, Wallace Falls makes for a popular detour. | Photo: Andy Porter Images

3. Gold Bar and Wallace Falls State Park

Gold Bar is an early-20th-century mining town stretched along the highway next to the Skykomish River. If you’re traveling with a canine companion, the off-leash area between the river and the highway at 6th Street may be a welcome respite before you head into the mountains where snow is more likely.

If you’d like a longer walk, visit Wallace Falls State Park, less than a mile northeast of Gold Bar. You can hike or snowshoe to the lower, middle, or upper falls, depending on your schedule and stamina.

4. Skykomish

Skykomish is home to the next fast-charging station on U.S. Route 2, located at LouSkis Deli between the highway and the Skykomish River. For a dose of local history, cross the river and visit the Great Northern & Cascade Railway. Building and maintaining a railroad through the Cascades took courage and ingenuity, and the museum, housed in a restored 1898 depot, brings the story to life. The 1/8-to-scale trains don’t operate in the winter, but the museum is open year round.

A road as seen through a car windshield is the lone surface not covered in snow in a wintery landscape.
Route 2 passes among evergreens covered in snow near Steven Pass. | Photo courtesy of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway

5. Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass is the geographic high point of this trip, at the boundary between the west and east sides of the Cascade Range. It’s also home to the popular Stevens Pass ski area, which is often crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Watch for heavy traffic on the road and buses parked alongside the highway.

Stevens Pass offers day and night skiing and snowboarding. (If you prefer Nordic skiing or snowshoeing, check out the resort’s Nordic center, 5 miles east of the pass.) There are several dining options for snacks or full meals. There’s no lodging at the resort, although RVers can park overnight for a fee—space is limited, so do make a reservation. 

Related Here’s where to camp lift-side at some of the best ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest

If you spend time at Stevens Pass, there are four Level 2 EV charging sites in Lot G. However, given the area’s heavy use, it’s best not to count on being able to charge up.

Lights shine from the windows of a row of quaint Bavarian-style buildings in a snowy downtown area.
The town of Leavenworth lights up for winter nights. | Photo courtesy of the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

6. Leavenworth

The Bavarian village of Leavenworth is a hot spot of winter activity as the town transforms itself into a Village of Lights. Festive lights are on every night from December through February, and there’s a full slate of holiday entertainment from the day after Thanksgiving through the day before Christmas. With rugged mountains as a backdrop to a lively street scene, you may feel as though you’ve been transported straight to the Alps.

Leavenworth and its surroundings also abound with winter recreation opportunities—you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, slide downhill on a sled or a tube, ride a fat bike, board a horse-drawn sleigh, or pilot a snowmobile. If a quiet nature walk is more your speed, head down to the river, where trails traverse Blackbird Island, Enchantment Park, and the Wenatchee River Institute’s Barn Beach Reserve.

In Leavenworth, you’ll find both a fast-charging station and a Tesla Supercharger station.

Snow-covered mountain peaks rise dramatically into the sky.
Cascade crags rise above Derby Canyon near Cashmere, Washington. | Photo courtesy of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

7. Cashmere

Just beyond Leavenworth, the landscape opens up as Route 2 follows the Wenatchee River into orchard country and Washington’s dry side. The city of Cashmere sits at the state’s geographic center, in the heart of the fruit-growing region between Leavenworth and Chelan.

Apples, peaches, pears, cherries, apricots, and wine grapes thrive here, and grids of bare-limbed trees and vines in the snow bring a rhythmic order to the arid winter scene. It’s worth venturing off the highway to soak up some small-town charm and visit the Aplets and Cotlets factory, where local fruit is transformed into sweet treats (check ahead for hours).

Insider tip

Cashmere is reportedly home to a population of gnomes. Keep your eyes peeled for the doors to their houses or use this tour map to find them.

Blue and purple hues reflect off the surface of the Columbia River in winter.
Snow highlights geology along the Columbia River near Wenatchee, Washington. | Photo courtesy of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway

8. Wenatchee

Chelan County’s Wenatchee is home to this trip’s fourth fast-charging station. Within walking distance of the charging station is a compact downtown, where historic buildings house shops and eateries, and the mile-long Wenatchee Riverfront Park, where you can walk, ski, or snowshoe on the Apple Capital Loop Trail.

The trail extends through Wenatchee Confluence State Park, which is open year round and includes the Horan Natural Area. Bare branches make it easy to spot birds and wildlife, including the bald eagles that gather in winter. Be sure to stay out of the closed area if you visit, to avoid disturbing sensitive species.

A little farther afield, Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort is open for day and night skiing.