Chuckanut Scenic Byway


A hundred years ago, early-model windowless automobiles first bumped along the gravel road known as Chuckanut Drive, which officially opened in the spring of 1916. The drivers were likely motivated by the same thing I am: the route’s spectacular views, including sheer sandstone cliffs, roadside forests, pocket beaches and jaw-dropping views of the Salish Sea. 

At the northern end of Chuckanut Drive is Bellingham, which overlooks the sheltered harbor of Bellingham Bay and the picturesque San Juan Islands. Cut into the hillsides above Samish Bay, the route’s serpentine path winds through Larrabee State Park, with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range

A premier byway sometimes referred to as Washington’s Big Sur (perhaps Little Sur would be more fitting), the 24-mile curvy route hugs the sheer sandstone cliffs of the Chuckanut Mountains. The only place where the Cascade Mountains meet the sea, Chuckanut Drive overlooks Samish Bay and offers gorgeous views of the San Juan Islands and Chuckanut Bay.

Search for treasures in shops or for beach glass along the water. Take a hike up past the tree line, or down along a white-sand beach. Chuckanut Drive is one of those byways that will leave you wanting to linger just a little longer. The drive is particularly scenic in autumn when maples and alders blaze with color.

 The route veers inland across farmland to end in Burlington.  You can troll through tulip fields in spring or find a cozy restaurant and feast on fresh shellfish at Taylor’s Seafood, and return back to the Farmstead after sunset, we will keep the lights on for you! 

7 incredible places to go exploring around Whatcom County

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