Culture Dose: EverGreen Escapes

Tours that explore the best of the Pacific NW (& beyond).

Sometimes the combined words “group” and “tour” conjure frightening images of claustrophobic buses and robotic guides regurgitating facts into a feedback-heavy mic. Thankfully, with EverGreen Escapes, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The eco-conscious, adventure nature company prides itself on groups that are small, vehicles that are sleek (think bio-fueled Mercedes SUVs and vans with pull-down DVD screens), and driver-guides who are friendly and fun (not to mention impressively knowledgable). Among them: world travelers, outdoors junkies, birding enthusiasts and former Peace Corps volunteers.

On EverGreen tours, visitors and locals alike get to step away from their daily routines to explore the magnificent beauty that exists in the Pacific Northwest. Day trips (and overnight stays) depart from Seattle and Portland and travel to stunning spots from Mount Rainier and the San Juan Islands to Snoqualmie Falls and Olympic National Park.

Oenophiles enjoy a visit to the Woodinville Wine Trail, while others opt to combine adventure and indulgence (with hiking, rock climbing or kayaking, followed by decadent wine tastings). There’s something for everyone: AgriCurean Escapes for the foodies, Lakes to Locks Paddle tours for those who love the water and Backroads Biking tours for those wanting an active, off-the-beaten-path adventure. 

During a June expedition to Mount St. Helens, myself and four other tour goers were lucky enough to have the clouds part just in time for our arrival, giving us a proper peek at the mighty sleeping giant. The full-day tour stopped at visitor centers and lookout points along the route, breaking up the drive from downtown Seattle (the company does pick-ups from hotels around town).

At lunchtime, our driver-guide doubled as maître d’, finding a picnic table on which to spread a feast that would have made Martha Stewart proud–colorful dishware set on a patterned tablecloth, a bottle of Washington wine and a fresh, healthy lunch prepared by local catering company Maven Meals (grilled veggies with polenta, chicken with chimichurri-esque sauce, lentil salad and homemade cookies for dessert).

After lunch, we enjoyed a brief hike to take in some of the surrounding views. The vibe was relaxed, and our guide tailored the walk to fit the requests (and athletic levels) of our group members.

So forget all your preconceptions of group tours, and let EverGreen Escapes show you how to travel in style. Just arrive ready for some adventure, and they’ll take care of the rest. You’ll quickly remember just how much we have to explore and celebrate here in the Pacific NW–and how enjoyable it can be to share the experience with new friends.

Check out the new Escape Your Every Day Blog that features the company’s Adventure Series at Columbia Sportswear and the AgriCurean Escapes Launch Party at 21 Acres in Woodinville on September 16th.

All photos by Corinne Whiting.