03 Dec Chuckanut Drive

Chuckanut Drive. From Washington State Department of Transportation: This dramatic cliff side route hugs the base of Chuckanut Mountain weaving its way through evergreen forests along the rocky shoreline of Chuckanut Bay. From the oyster beds and tidal flats of the Samish lowlands, to the historic Fairhaven District of Bellingham, this byway is known for its exquisite sunsets, secluded pocket beaches, migratory birds, and communities reminiscent of early Northwest settlement.

Chuckanut Drive is actually in my neighborhood so I think I have a pretty good handle on all it offers the curious visitor. It’s a drive we frequently make going from the Skagit Valley to Bellingham. I remember the first time we drove it and how thrilled I was. Like many Americans I love to drive and to explore new places by car and these unique scenic byways, many from another era when roads were simple low tech two-laners with little or no shoulders, are also lots of fun.

Chuckanut Drive is one of the best of these scenic highways in all of Washington. Connecting the Skagit Valley and Fairhaven, Bellingham to the north it winds its way snakelike north to south, hugging tenuously to the backside of the Chuckanut Range. Part of the Cascade Range, this is the only place in the entire range where the mountains reach this far west to meet the sea.

A favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts as well, there are several activities that draw people out every day of the year. Beginning with Larrabee State Park, a premier destination for hiking and camping that includes the Oyster Dome Trail, one of Washington’s most traveled hikes with breathtaking views of Puget Sound.  With renowned and challenging downhill mountain biking on designated trails, and one of the most popular cycling routes found within the state, Chuckanut Drive is a true bucket list classic.