Highway 7

3 great corners to greet  youWhile probably not worth your time as the destination itself, Highway 7 is a fun road and a much better option going North or South than I-5. If I'm on Highway 7 I'm probably on the way to Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens. If you are going to hit Highway 7 it's definately best to do so on a weekday or as early as possible on a weekend. A weekend afternoon run is almost gauranteed to be ruined by slower and heavy traffic.

The fun stretch of Highway 7 begins about 10 miles South of Spanaway if you are coming from the North as you finally get out of the congested and populated areas. A quick turn to the left followed by a slow turn back to the right signals the end of the boring slab and beginning of the ride. A short break before a gentle left turns immediately into a sharp right hairpin. A few more corners lead you to the the junction with Highway 161

Views of the road winding back on itself.

From the intersection with 161 is where Highway 7 gets very fun. The next 3 miles are a blast. The first of three 20-mph rated corners comes as you see a sign letting you know you're in the small town of La Grande. It's a 90-degree left hand corner followed immediately by another 90-degree to the right. The last of the three is a fantastic uphill, hairpin corner taking you out of La Grande and into the twisting section of Highway 7 that traces a cliff as you head towards Elbe.

The scenery changes dramatically after passing through La Grande, before you realize it you are riding on the edge of a cliff, a rocky hill to your left. The next few miles of road are never straight, it will wind back and forth before a you come across a sharp corner or two. It is very fun as long as you get a open stretch of road in front of you. Cars tend to bunch up here as people gawk at the scenery around them. There aren't any passing lanes on this stretch of Highway 7 and little room for even motorcycles to pass. If you end up stuck behind cars you are best off pulling over and waiting for a gap between cars.

Middle section of Highway 7 is very twisty.

After getting past the tight section of Highway 7 the scenery changes dramatically again as the road opens up and follows Alder Lake into Elbe. Careful of the speed limit as you head into Elbe as bored sheriffs occasionally watch for cars as the speed limit drops. Passing through Elbe, take a right over the bridge to stay on Highway 7 and head towards Morton. The road is much more mellow the rest of the way. There's a few fun sweepers with some straight sections in between but the road is still the better alternative to I-5.

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