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Chuckanut Drive

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Bow, WA

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Visitor Information about

Chuckanut Drive

In northwest Washington State

 

 

 

Nearby Cities

Bellingham

   Fairhaven

Burlington

Mount Vernon

Bow

Skagit County

 

 

San Juan Islands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attractions

Recommended

Restaurants

Lodging

 

Parks

Museums

Visitor Information

 

Listed Attractions

Restaurants

Lodging

 

 Antiques

Art Galleries

Gift Shops

 

 

 

 

WA-Counties01-whatcom-Skagit.jpg

 

Chuckanut Drive is classified as State Route-11 by Washington State and symbolized as WA-11 on this web site so you know what state it is in.

 

Chuckanut Drive starts in Bellingham, WA, Whatcom County (red on the map to the left), and travels south along Bellingham and Samish Bays into Skagit County (yellow on the map).  The drive is actually on the side of the Chuckanut Mountains and follows the shoreline a couple hundred feet above sea level. 

 

1-Photo01-Highway.jpgThis height gives spectacular views of the bays, the San Juan Islands, and the mountains to the west on Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula.

 

Chuckanut Drive begins and ends on Interstate-5.  It begins in Bellingham at I-5 Exit 250, Fairhaven – Chuckanut Drive, and ends 19 miles south at I-5 Exit 231  North Burlington – Chuckanut Drive.

 

A little History about Chuckanut Drive

The original form of transportation in the Puget Sound was water travel.  From the 1850’s until the very late 1800’s the only way to get from Bellingham to Mount Vernon or Seattle was by boat.

 

In 1893 the Great Northern Railway began its first scheduled service from Minnapolis – St. Paul to Seattle.  Sometime after that they began service between Seattle and Vancouver, BC.  The Coast Line used the same tracks that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe uses today from Seattle north to Mount Vernon, to Bellingham, and on to Vancouver, BC.

 

 

1-Photo02-SanJuan.jpgThe BNSF tracks run along the shore of Samish and Bellingham Bays at the base of the Chuckanut Mountains some 200 feet below Chuckanut Drive.

 

In 1896 what is now called Chuckanut Drive was built to connect Bellingham to Skagit Valley for the purpose of logging.  It was a one lane dirt roadway.

 

In 1905 the State Legislature funded paving of the roadway.  The funding ran out after only a few miles had been paved.

 

In 1907 Charles Larrabee and his partner Cyrus Gates lobbied the legislature to fund the paving of the Fairhaven end of the highway.  In 1910 convicts were used to pave the road, they only completed about five and a half miles of roadway.

 

In 1921 the State funded the paving from Fairhaven to Blanchard.  From 1913 to 1931 this road was part of the Pacific Highway auto trail and in 1926 it was designated as US Highway-99.

 

In 1931 the more inland route closely following the route of Interstate-5 was built for US-99 and Chuckanut Drive became a scenic highway.

 

Today it is designated as State Route-11 (WA-11 on this site) and is a Washington State Scenic Byway.

 

1-Photo04-FallColors.jpgA little  background

Chuckanut Drive is made up of two very different sections of highway.  From mile 9 to mile 21 at I-5 Exit-250, the north end of the byway, the highway curves along the Chuckanut Mountains with trees, cliffs, and scenic outlooks looking out over Bellingham Bay, Samish Bay, the San Juan Islands, and the Coastal Mountains to the west.

 

The south end of the byway, from milepost-0 at I-5 Exit-231 to milepost-8 runs through the Skaget Valley farm lands located on the delta of the Skagit River.  These wide open farmlands are some of the most productive farm lands in the country.

 

1-Photo08-OysterBar.jpgTourist Facilities

There are four restaurants along Chuckanut Drive.  Two of these are on the flatlands of the Skagit Valley.  One in Mile 6 at the Bow Hill Road and another about a mile north at the Japanese Garden.  There are also two on the side of the Chuckanut Mountains.  One just north of the overpass bridge over the BNSF tracks.  For more information about restaurants see Recommended Restaurants below.

 

The only public restrooms on the drive are located in Larrabee State Park.

 

If you want to have a picnic a couple of the lookouts have picnic tables and there is an extensive picnic facility at Larrabee State Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Attractions

See also Bow, WA

Restaurants

Lodging

Information

 

 

Restaurants

 

See listed restaurants below

 

Lodging

 

See listed lodging below

 

Antiques

 

See listed antiques below

 

 

Gift Shops

 

See listed gift shops below

 

 

Attractions

 

 

 

Museums

 

 

 

Parks & Gardens

 

Larrabee State Park

 

Visit the Park's website.

 

51 Tent sites, 26 RV utility sites, eight primitive sites, trails, one trailer dump and 8 showers.  Over 8,000 feet of saltwater beach.

 

 

 

Visitor Information

 

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

904 Potter Street

Bellingham, WA 98229

360-671-3990

http://www.bellingham.org/

 

Skagit Valley Information

http://www.visitskagitvalley.com/

 

Links to all Skagit Valley Visitor Information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listed Restaurants

We have not necessarily visited nor recommend listed establishments

 

 

Chuckanut Manor Seafood & Grill - 360-766-6191 - http://www.chuckanutmanor.com/

3056 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

The Oyster Bar – 360-766-6185 – http://theoysterbar.net

2578 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

The Oyster Creek Inn – 360-766-6179 – http://oystercreekinn.net/

2190 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

Rhododendron Cafι – 360-766-6667 - http://rhodycafe.com/

5521 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

 

 

 

Listed Lodging

We have not necessarily visited nor recommend listed establishments

 

 

Bed & Breakfasts

 

 

Chuckanut Manor Bed and Breakfast – 360-766-6191 - http://www.chuckanutmanor.com/

3056 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

 

 

Listed Attractions

We have not necessarily visited nor recommend listed establishments

 

 

Antiques

 

 

Bonnar’s Trading Post – 360-766-6342

5485 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

 

Art Galleries

 

 

Chuckanut Bay Gallery – 360-734-4885 - http://www.chuckanutbaygallery.com/

700 Chuckanut Drive N, Bellingham, WA 98229

 

Rhody Too! Gallery & Gifts – 360-766-6667 - http://rhodycafe.com/rhodytoo.php

5521 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232

  

Gift Shops/ Specialty Shops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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