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in Snohomish County, Washington
Story Ideas and Travel Tips from the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau
1. Explore a National Scenic Byway. 2. Where to spot a "hidden" volcano. 3. How Big 4 Mountain got its name. 4. Drive-to waterfalls. 5. Views from the ferries. 6. A berry good time
Please note: Mountain Loop Hwy and various parts of the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest were hit hard by excess rain in October of 2003. Many parts of this area may be inaccessible. For further assistance call Darrington Ranger District at 360-691-7791.
You'll need to buy a $5 (Day pass) permit to park at nearly all trailheads on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. That's year-round. The only exception is the Heather Meadows area at Mt. Baker. Annual passes are $30. Pick one up at any Forest Service office. Or get one at the Snohomish County Visitor Information Center at Heritage Park (exit 181 off of I-5) in Lynnwood. Open 7 days a week from 9a.m.-5p.m. The Forest Service is using the fees to pay for trail repairs.
Think of Snohomish County as your gateway to some of the most incredible views on Puget Sound. And you can take in most of those views from the comfort of your car. or a Washington state ferry. From our national scenic byway you could spot a mountain goat grazing on a distant craggy peak, watch cascading waterfalls, or see hillsides awash in wildflowers, all in a morning's drive. There's plenty off-road scenery too. Stop to pluck your own fresh blueberries at a U-pick farm nestled up against the Cascades. Hop on a Washington State ferry in Edmonds or Mukilteo for some of the most spectacular views around Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic ranges. On the pages that follow is a sampling of some of the "drive-by-beauty" in Snohomish County.
1. A Loop drive you'll love
Miners carved it out as a wagon road in 1891, but this route has always been richer in scenery than in precious metal. Drive the Mountain Loop Highway today and you'll quickly see why it was designated a National Scenic Byway a hundred years later, in 1991. The Mountain Loop highway is open from late May through October, and passes through boom-and-bust town sites and abandoned mining claims. But you'll also see rushing rivers and glacier-clad peaks.
All illustrations by Michael Horswill
Snohomish County Tourism Bureau 909 SE Everett Mall Way, C-300 (425) 348-5802 Fax (425) 348-5701 1-888-338-0976 www.snohomish.org
Everett, WA 98208 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
and leading up to the Big Four Ice Caves. . a federally listed accessible overlooks along the loop.000feet thick.it's only 40 feet from the parking lot. As you continue west to Barlow Pass. but you can walk or mountain bike the 4-mile dirt road to reach it. which turns into an oversized single-lane graded road two cars can just squeak onto. so please respect the no trespassing signs. which burned in 1949. About half the town is still privately owned. About halfway around the loop you’ll come to the Big Four Picnic Area and trail leading to a viewpoint into the Big Four Ice Caves.(More Mountain Loop) It’s an easy morning or afternoon drive out of either Granite Falls to the south. Here are some good spots to find fossils: • 4 miles up the road turning off to the Big Four Ice Caves look for a wide turnout with two vandalized markers with a thick bed of black shale protruding from the road. It’s perfectly safe though. picnic area. the drive would take you about an hour and a half. but that makes it easy to find the remains of that sea life today.Fossil Finds: The whole Northwest was under water during the time dinosaurs roamed our planet. but be sure to stop at the White Chuck Overlook. More fossils await you there. C-300 (425) 348-5802 Fax (425) 348-5701 1-888-338-0976 www. or Darrington to the north. If you made no stops (but why wouldn’t you?). From the parking lot there’s a gentle 1-mile trail through a forest carpeted with wildflowers. Below you are the remains of an old railroad logging camp. From the trail you can get a good look up into the “caves. It’s a twolane paved road for all but 14 miles. • A mile up the road is Coal Lake. But the lush meadow. Glacial forces pushed fossilized plants and sea life up into what are now the Cascade Mountains. This stretch of cool. In the 1920s thousands of tourists arrived here by train to stay in the swank Big Four Inn. The remaining section of the scenic byway is paved and follows parts of the historic “tote road.snohomish. As you step out of your car. try to envision a volcano larger than Mount Rainier sitting right here. the awesome view of Big Four Mountain remain.. WA 98208 E-mail news@snohomish.” really tubes formed in the toe of an ice field by warm air flowing off the mountain in late spring and early summer. The surrounding peaks you’ll see were created by its lava flows 2. the Mountain Loop starts out south on Forest Service Road 20 where you get incredible views of the designated Wild and Scenic River known as the Sauk.. one of the county's most accessible alpine lakes.” which prospectors built to reach the mines at Monte Cristo. and of course. quick water is home to the largest Northwest population of bull trout. Snohomish County Tourism Bureau 909 SE Everett Mall Way. chances are good that you'll crush a plant fossil or two.org 2 . Floods washed out the paved road leading to that ghost town. From Darrington. as long as you drive slowly and use your headlights.org Everett. beaver ponds. There you can scan the slopes of White Chuck Mountain for goats along rocky outcrops.
The only murrelet nests ever found in Washington State are in this forest.. Look for old mine tunnels. The “caves”. Sultan. The mountain gets its name from the way snow melts off it each spring. keep your eyes peeled for the infamous spotted owl.org Everett.cascadeloop. It’s a great place to see salmon and steelhead making their way back to spawning grounds in the late summer and early fall. and then follow the mighty Columbia River north on Highway 97 to Pateros. Granite Falls is the other starting point of the Mountain Loop Highway. The RNA is also home to the elusive marbled murrelet. Tips from locals on spotting Washington’s “hidden” volcano.. are actually tubes that form late in the summer as warm air flows down slope and under the snow pack. Highway 20 ends in Rockport. It sits in the shadow of Mt. Further down the road at the Lake 22 Research Natural Area. When Glacier Peak erupted 12. you’ve gone too far! Or from the Mountain Loop Highway. Here are two easy places to catch a glimpse: You can spot it from Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington. There’s a wheelchairaccessible interpretive trail that tells the story of the former mill and now wildlife area. From I-5. follow signs to US 2 and Stevens Pass. Between Marble Peak and Blackjack Ridge hung a 9. At the Gold Basin Campground. 3. where the road turns into the North Cascades Highway 20. which are formed in a snowfield avalanched from the mountain. (509) 662-3888 or www. The next 4 miles of the loop take you past a motherlode of mining history.snohomish. crossing the Cascades twice.com 2.000 years ago. Pilchuck. Great Blue Heron are often seen along the trail. which lives in old growth all along the Mountain Loop.500 feet. Monroe. If you get to the Whitehorse Mercantile. it’s the state’s fourth highest peak. C-300 (425) 348-5802 Fax (425) 348-5701 1-888-338-0976 www. Stop by the Granite Falls fish ladder just before leaving the loop highway. you can see what’s left of an old lumber and shingle mill. some more than 700 years old. Continue into Wenatchee. Gold Bar. The Cascade Loop: It's a much longer 400 mile drive. and remnants of ghost towns. Glacier Peak: At 10. Heading east to Darrington. WA 98208 E-mail news@snohomish. Startup and Index before heading across Stevens Pass into the Tyrolean village of Leavenworth on the eastern flank of the Cascades. It passes through the westerntheme town of Winthrop before climbing over two spectacular mountain passes. and then go to the end of White Chuck Trail. where you'll take State Highway 530 into Darrington to connect to the Mountain Loop or return to I-5. Snohomish County Tourism Bureau 909 SE Everett Mall Way. you wander through an old growth forest of red cedar and hemlock. it blew with 3 times the force of the last Mount St.000 foot-long tramway bringing ore down to the railroad from the Forty-five Mine over the divide into the Sultan Basin. because tons of ice can come crashing down at any time. Helen’s eruption. From there head east on State Highway 153 to the town of Twisp. traces of the long abandoned railroad. Why “Big Four”? Big Four is best known for its ice caves. It’s tough to spot though because it’s tucked away deep in the Cascades. You'll pass through the towns of Snohomish. start looking straight ahead between milepost 41-43. leaving a big “4” on its north face. just look. And.org 3 . a seabird on the federal threatened species list. turn off Forest Service Road 20 onto White Chuck Road. Across the highway there’s an excavated millpond that now provides a safe haven for young salmon yearround. Ash from Glacier Peak has been found all over the Northwest.(More Mountain Loop) The ice caves are extremely dangerous.. Please don’t enter the ice caves.
The Mukilteo-toClinton run takes you to Whidbey Island. and you don’t have to wait for the next ferry when the car ferries fill up! If you do plan to drive onto the ferry. Loop south from Darrington to Forest Service Road 49. They look like a blackcap. 1/4 mile walk to the falls. A seven mile loop trail takes you to the falls. The Edmonds-to-Kingston run gets you to the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. Sunset Falls … About 1. and seasonal festivals.org Everett. avoid the weekend. And bring a jacket even on a sunny day. 2. Thimbleberries are last to ripen up in wetter areas in August. baby farm animals. holiday rush. Bridal Veil Falls Wild ones: At least 23 varieties of wild berries ripen in Northwest forests. Waterfall Safety: • Stay on trails • Avoid wet logs & • Wear lug-soled 6. A short trail leads to the falls from a parking area. You can see how the gray-black rock at the falls has been worn smooth by centuries of flowing water. only medium red. Views from the Ferries: You get awesome water and mountain views by riding the ferry from either the Edmonds or Mukilteo terminals. The blackberry is ubiquitous in the Northwest all summer long. rocks shoes 4. Board as a foot passenger. and herb farms scattered around like seeds. Look along any road or trail in the county . They look like domestic blueberries. A 580-ft fishway connects the top and bottom parts of the river. you’ll find berry. Huckleberries draw all sorts of Northwesterners to the forest in late July. It’s one of the widest sections on the South Fork of the Skykomish River. because it’s very sweet. Next comes the blackcap. Our visitor’s centers provide maps of many local u-pick farms. Some even offer free petting zoos. Granite Falls . Take the Mtn. 3.. First on the scene each spring is the yellowish salmon berry. burgundy raspberry..5 miles east of Index also off US Highway 2.5 miles north of town. 5.snohomish. Fork Sauk Falls … Water thunders 80 feet along the Sauk River. which actually looks like a tiny. And either crossing won’t take longer than 30 minutes each way. or leave at least 1-2 hours wait time before the scheduled sailing time. Turn left and look for Trail #660. vegetable. because it gets breezy when you’re taking in those views on the outside decks! …they widen and careen down.org 4 . Or you can check out one of the many local farmer’s markets in Snohomish County. but some of the prettiest don’t require leaving your car. and you’ll find it in rocky. Waterfalls to Watch There are 18 waterfalls to watch. drier areas. A berry good time As you drive through rural Snohomish County. Rev 1/10 Snohomish County Tourism Bureau 909 SE Everett Mall Way. Many people prefer their tart taste to the sweeter blackcap. Under a blue summer sky there’s nothing quite like plucking fresh strawberries or blueberries for your morning breakfast (if you keep out of them that long). N. Others are easy to reach on foot: 1. It’s shaped just like a raspberry and is found in wet areas from July to September. It’s popular.4. Himalaya and Dewberry.bring a pail! 5. WA 98208 E-mail news@snohomish. 1. Visible from US Hwy 2 about ¼ mile east of the turnoff to Index. C-300 (425) 348-5802 Fax (425) 348-5701 1-888-338-0976 www. and comes in two types. forming two wispy veils in the summer. Wallace Falls …This spectacular 265-foot falls near Gold Bar on US 2 is worth the hike. water froths along South Fork Stillaguamish in a series of descents totaling 30 to 40 feet. but come in both red and blue.
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