Pacific Northwest Explorer

Hidden Journeys

View the Pacific Northwest from the air with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Hidden Journeys
See some of Hidden Journeys fantastic photos below on the flight path from Denver to Seattle featuring places you’ll visit on Travel Dream West’s
small group tour “Pacific Northwest Explorer”. Discover the highlights from way above and emerge yourself.

The Hidden Journeys Project aims to enliven the flying experience and transform it into a fascinating exploration of the people, places and environments thousands of meters below by providing inspiring information to air travelers about the parts of the world they fly over (

The latest guide to be released explores the mountainous landscape that lies between Denver and Seattle, including the rugged Wind River Range in Wyoming; Craters of the Moon National Monument and the Salmon River Range in Idaho, the picturesque Palouse Region and the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The route between the two 19th century boomtowns of Denver and Seattle follows the path of hundreds of thousands of emigrants who battled their way through the mountainous northwest quarter of the contiguous United States to settle in the West.

As you fly over several sub-ranges of the Rockies, learn how the power of glaciers, rivers and the wind have shaped these mountains into some of the highest peaks in the continent. See the classic cones of the Cascade Mountains as you descend towards Seattle, and discover the influence these active volcanoes have on the Pacific Northwest, from the impact of devastating eruptions to the ash-fall deposits that have created the most productive farming region in the country.

Amongst the spectacular yet hostile landscapes there are pockets of humanity, where Native Americans thrived for ten thousand years and modern cities have sprung up at the feet of mountains and along the lengths of rivers. A plethora of natural resources drew settlers here, from precious metals and timber that fuelled the growth of boomtowns to present-day mining of chemicals and fossil fuels that are increasingly valuable as 21st century commodities.

The Cascades:

Hidden Journey’s photos – from the air

Travel Dream West’s Pacific Northwest tour photos – on the ground

Travel Dream West’s Pacific Northwest tour photos – on the ground

Mount Hood , Oregon, aerial view

View of Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake in Mount Hood’s National Forest

view of Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake

Enjoy a great hike around scenic Trillium Lake and take a picnic on our small group tour traveling from Portland, Oregon to Umatilla Oregon. Mt. Hood in the background is Oregon’s highest volcano, part of the Cascade mountain range.

Scenic drive from the Columbia River to Mount Hood

Mount Hood Scenic Byway - spring time

Discover historic Columbia River Highway with unparalleled views over the Columbia Gorge and then on to Mt. Hood Scenic Byway. Mt. Hood is 3400 meters high and a considered a dormant volcano.

Mount Rainier & Mount Adams © Aaron Schmidt – Many of the prominent Cascade peaks are formed by volcanoes, such as these.

Mt. Rainier and Mt, Adams, part of the Cascade volcanoes

View from Mt. Hood towards the Cascade volcanoes.

Cascade volcanoes seen from Mt. Hood's ski area

Visit famous Timberline Lodge, a ski resort on the National Historic Landmark, perched on the side of majestic Mt. Hood. Many movies have been shot here including The Shining with Jack Nicholson, Lost Horizon with Liv Ullmann and Bend of the River with James Steward among others.

Explore Seattle harbor with impressive Mt. Rainier in the background.

Seattle harbor and Mount Rainier in the background

Seattle is an important seaport at Puget Sound, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. It serves as a major gateway for trade with Asia. In the background looms 4400 meter high Mt. Rainier, part of the Cascade Volcanoes and considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

Mount St Helens – courtesy of NASA – This image shows the huge regional impact of the blast zone, stretching clearly towards the top of the image over a huge area.

Mt. St. Helens aerial view

Mount St. Helens seen from Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Mount St. Helens, viewed from Johnston Ridge

Our tours visit Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument stopping at the Silver Lake visitor center first for an informational movie and displays. A drive up to Johnston Ridge Observatory demonstrates how nature is recovering from the last massive eruption in 1980.

Coldwater Lake with Mt. St. Helens in the background.

Coldwater Lake, in the background Mt. St. Helens

There are several hiking trails in the area. On our hike at the Coldwater Lake you can experience how plants have regained the area that has not long ago been bare and devastated by volcanic mudslides. Hundreds of square kilometers have been turned into wasteland in 1980.


Puget Sound – courtesy of NASA – Dark water swirls with lighter currents off Puget Sound, as chlorophyll-rich marine algae gathers near the coast.

Puget Sound, waterway from Seattle to the open Pacific

Scenic beach on Olympic Peninsula that lies across Seattle on the Puget Sound.

Rialto Beach at Olympic National Park

Explore the Olympic Peninsula on a walk along the beautiful Rialto Beach at Olympic National Park. Here our tour group relaxes and enjoys a picnic before we plunge into natural hot springs at Sol Duc Hot Springs.

One of the few remaining temperate rainforests in the U.S. protected within Olympic National Park.

lychen and moss at Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Take a leisurely walk and explore on your own the walking trails at Hoh Rainforest. This is an unusual natural area with tremendously large trees, lichen and mosses.

Alki Point, Seattle, Washington © Gerald Hawkins – An aerial view over Alki Point, West Seattle, jutting into the dark waters of Puget Sound.

Alki Point, Seattle - Hidden Journeys

Seattle is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most livable cities surrounded by green, lush forests and many water bodies including Elliot Bay connecting the city to the open Pacific Ocean.

Seattle waterfront at Elliot Bay

Seattle’s sky scrapers downtown, the central business and shopping district geographically confined by hills and Elliot Bay.

Seattle downtown

Pike Place Market, one of the oldest Farmer’s Markets in the US is a popular tourist destination right on the waterfront of Elliot Bay.

Seattle's historic Pike's Market

Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum/Hall of Fame, a unique museum and building designed by Frank Gehry.

Seattle's Experience Music Project museum