Travelers crossing the Central Cascade Mountains of Washington may drive on Highway 12 and eventually crest the range at White Pass. White Pass is south of Mt. Rainier, north of Goat Rocks, and located between the communities of Packwood and Yakima. It’s a very popular route for travelers and has a number of scenic sights to see on both sides. Here is a look at five fun facts about scenic White Pass.
Touched By Two Counties
White Pass not only separates Eastern Washington from Western Washington in the central part of the state, it also serves as the border for two counties. Yakima County in the east and Lewis County in the west meet at the top of White Pass.
Ski White Pass
The White Pass Ski Area, a popular Washington recreation site, was opened in January of 1953.
Most drivers going over White Pass today, are driving on Highway 12 all the way from where it meets Interstate 5 in the west to where it meets Interstate 82 in the east, near Yakima. When this route across the Cascade Mountains was first established though in 1931, it was named State Road 5.
A Long And Winding Road
While locals think of Highway 12 as White Pass or even a major east-west route across the Cascade Mountains, it is so much more than that. Yes, it does cross the Cascades at White Pass, but it also starts at Aberdeen in the west and goes for almost 2,500 miles to the city of Detroit, Michigan in the east.
Twins Phil and Steve Mahre grew up skiing at White Pass and would go on to become Olympic medalists. Their father, Dave, was for many years the mountain manager of the White Pass Ski Area.