Best Panoramas in the West

Via readers share their favorite grand views in Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, California, and Idaho.

Sawtooth Range, Idaho's grand vista

Snow-clad peaks in Idaho's Sawtooth Range tower over a stand of snowy penstemons.

Mountains, prairies, oceans white with foam. Via's readers have roamed the West and found panoramas guaranteed to switch on the oohs and aahs.

MAUI COASTLINE from the highway near Hana, Hawaii. "Breathtaking scenery," writes Dave Taube of Eugene, Ore. "Beautiful tropical flowers on both sides, tumbling waterfalls, and the expansive Pacific Ocean."

MOUNT HOOD from near Sandy, Ore. "From the Jonsrud Viewpoint on Bluff Road, off Highway 26, you look hundreds of feet down to the meandering Sandy River," says Jack Caldwell of Lake Oswego, Ore. "And straight ahead is the glacier-covered mountain in all its glory."

OWENS VALLEY AND SIERRA NEVADA from the White Mountains above Big Pine, Calif. "Absolutely spectacular!" writes Donald Lewis of Lafayette, Calif., about the vista from the Sierra View Overlook on Highway 168. "One of the greatest California drives."

PUGET SOUND from northern Whidbey Island, Wash. "Park near the bridge at Deception Pass," says Susan Faulkner of Redding, Calif. "It's a narrow pass with rocky sides, swift water, and a 180-degree view of the sound and the Olympic Mountains. Wonderful in all sorts of weather."

SAN ANTONIO VALLEY from Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon, Calif. Writes Ruth Hunter of Alameda, Calif., "In the spring the whole area is covered by flowers—blue lupines, pink owl's clover, yellow buttercups, golden poppies, purple larkspur—as if God took buckets of paint and tossed them over the landscape."

SAN FRANCISCO BAY from the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, Calif. "From above the UC campus you see the entire bay," says Carolyn Bickford of San Jose. "Belvedere and Angel Island, the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and Fisherman's Wharf, plus the length of the Bay Bridge and the giant cranes at the Oakland harbor."

SAWTOOTH Range from near Grandjean, Idaho. "The most beautiful scenery in America," writes Ed Riche of Boise. "The range is shaped like the edge of a ripsaw blade. Many peaks in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area reach skyward over 10,000 feet."

Photography by Ed Riche

This article was first published in March 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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