Thursday, September 17, 2009
Roadtripping Chuckanut Drive In Washington
Chuckanut Drive was built, I think, in the 1920s, to connect the Skagit Valley with Bellingham, in Whatcom County, in Washington state. An Interurban train ran between Mount Vernon and Bellingham, above Chuckanut Drive. The Interurban train has been long gone. What remains is known as the Interurban Trail, an excellent bike ride that runs from Larrabee State Park to the Alaskan Ferry Terminal in Bellingham.
Chuckanut Drive twists and turns in places. If you are at all acrophobic this road may make you nervous. In places it is a steep drop off to Samish Bay below. There are several scenic overlooks where you can pull off an enjoy the view.
The fact that I lived most of my life in the Skagit Valley and drove Chuckanut Drive 100s of times is why I can be a bit non-plussed when Roadtripping over roads famed for their difficulty and danger. Like the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. That one really disappointed me. Or the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Very scenic, but not too scary, though way more so than the Million Dollar Highway.
The road I have been on that totally out does Chuckanut Drive in terms of drop-offs and twists and turns is the Moki Dugway in Utah. Just like with Chuckanut Drive, every once in awhile a vehicle goes over the edge to a bad end.
If you drive Chuckanut Drive you will find a couple good restaurants along the way, perched out over a drop off. You will find an oyster farm. There is a very good state park, that being Larrabee State Park. Be sure and stop and make your way to the beach. You will be glad you did. Or hike the trails up Chuckanut Mountain to Fragrance Lake. I used to do that regularly and miss it a lot.