Scenic Drives

Chuckanut Drive is always worth the detour. Photo by Bartek Wernicki.

From sunsets on saltwater to classic fall foliage, Bellingham is home to two iconic highway routes, both of which are officially designated as scenic drives.

Chuckanut Drive

Hugging the shoreline just south of Bellingham, Chuckanut Drive is Washington State’s original scenic byway. Shown on maps as WA State Highway 11, the route begins at I-5 exit 231 in Burlington and continues 20 miles north to Bellingham.

This is a favorite and historic entry into Whatcom County. For many miles the road offers incredible views of passing bays, with islands in the distance. Completed in 1896, Chuckanut Drive was the first land access to the Bellingham Bay community of Fairhaven from points further south.

Previous to its completion, visitors primarily into the region was by boat due to an impenetrable carpet of ancient cedars growing from the mountains to the sea. At milepost 14, Chuckanut Drive passes Larrabee State Park, with access to the beach, tidepools, and trails. Encompassing 2,000+ acres, Larrabee was the first designated state park in the state of Washington. Chuckanut Drive culminates in the Historic Fairhaven District, known for its Victorian-era red-brick architecture, quaint shops and restaurants.

For an updated map and details information, click on the .pdf below.

Chuckanut Drive Brochure

Larrabee State Park is just one of many beautiful spots along Chuckanut Drive.

Mount Baker Highway

Mount Baker Highway is state route 542, stretching from Bellingham east toward snow-capped Mt. Baker.

Within the first five miles, Bellingham’s urban feel gives way to rolling farmland and alpine vistas. The highway was built gradually in the late 1800s as an access road for the lucrative logging industry and its rich history is well documented. Between mileposts 10 and 34, the road passes through the close-knit communities of Nugent’s Corner, Deming, Kendall, Maple Falls and Glacier.

At Glacier, the road passes into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and is designated a National Forest Scenic Byway.  Towering evergreens and big leaf maples line the route, which tranquility skirts the Nooksack River at several points. In the summer months, the highway ends at milepost 58 in a parking lot, which is 5,140 foot Artist Point with spectacular views of Mt. Baker’s 10,781-foot peak, and an abundance of hiking trails. In the winter months, the road ends at milepost 55, which is the Mount Baker Ski Area – holder of the world record for snowfall in a single season.

For an updated map and details information, click on the .pdf below.

Mt. Baker Highway Brochure

The Mt. Baker Highway ends at Artist Point, where you can catch amazing sunset views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan.

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