Auto Trails, Stories from the Trails

Scenes along the Sunset Highway in Washington State

The Sunset Highway  was once the main thoroughfare across the middle of Washington State.  It was born from a variety of Indian and wagon roads and became the most direct route to Puget Sound for farmers and other businesses. It was approximately 300 miles long.

It was 1913, when the Washington State Highway Board officially designated the Sunset Highway as a primary state road starting at the Pacific Highway in the west, over the Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains, through the Yakima River Valley, through Wenatchee, Waterville and Spokane to the Idaho border in the east.  The Sunset Highway and the National Park to Park Highway shared the road over the 3,000 foot Snoqualmie Pass. In 1923, part of the Sunset Highway became Washington State Highway 2, and later in the 1920s, U.S. Highway 10 shared the road too. Highway 10 ultimately became a part of the transcontinental route between Detroit and Seattle. The route of the Sunset Highway moved closer and closer to the route of today’s I-90, which has ultimately replaced it and the highways it became over the years.

Over the years  a growing automobile population and road improvements led to many businesses catering to the auto traveler springing up and lining the highway. Especially east of the Cascade mountains. Below are postcard scenes and other images of landscapes, motels and restaurants along the route from the days of the Sunset Highway and later when it was replaced by Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 10.



Sources and further reading:

Sunset Highway on Faded Highways
Sunset Highway at History Link
The Spokesman-Review (Spokane)
Washington’s Sunset Highway by Chuck Flood – Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America Series, August, 2014