The Mountain Loop Highway Is Calling
… and I must go soon!
It’s that time of year again! The sun, and clear days, are slowly starting to make more and more appearances. For many, myself included, that means it is time to start counting down to the opening of the Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Granite Falls, as well as access to the many mountains, trails, camping, and views located along and around it that have been snowed in. Mid to late May can’t come fast enough for us. As for me, the break that comes from falling off the grid and getting away from it all can’t come fast enough either.
Don’t get me wrong though, as good of a sign as the opening of the highway is, there will still be some areas not easily accessible until well into the summer. White Chuck Mountain (pictured above) happens to be one of them.
It is a mountain we traveled up to, and even camped and hiked at, in early November 2016. That was less than a week before snow came and took over the road up to it. Our next attempt at reaching its panoramic mountain views (shown later) was in June 2017. On that particular trip, we found ourselves faced with a snow-covered road just a few miles shy of our destination.
Why am I telling you this? Well, the feeling we had in that moment, is a bit like the feeling you get traveling in the area of Darrington and Granite Falls before the highway opens. You get so close, but just can’t reach where you really want to go. Not yet anyway.
What You’ve Been Missing … for those who haven’t been or have forgotten already
If there is one thing the Mountain Loop Highway is known for, it is its amazing views. It is the best place for seeing wildlife, waterfalls, rivers, and mountains all in the same stretch of road. More importantly, it is the best place to see all of the above without the distractions of modern life.
Some of our favorite places to stop …
>Catching views of Mount Pugh and Sloan Peak from about 0.5 miles in on the White Chuck Bench Trail
> The 360 panoramic views of the Cascades (shown right/below) seen from the end of the road to White Chuck Mountain.
> Traveling along Sloan Creek Road to reach the North Fork Sauk River Waterfall and views of Sloan Peak and other mountains as you make your way towards the end of the road.
> The view of Mount Forgotten and Twin Peaks just past Bedal Campground.
> Views of the Sauk River from the many camping spots located directly along the river. Each offers a different, but still beautiful view.
> The reflections of Myrtle Lake and colors of Monte Cristo Lake, as well as the large waterfall coming down above it.
Our Favorite & Bucket List Trails …
>The trail to Monte Cristo is a long one, but well worth the journey to see the buildings, artifacts, and more left over at the mining ghost town.
> The Barlow Pass Trail head across from it is a to do for us, more out of curiosity to see if it offers views of the mountains that like to hide behind trees.
> The Big 4 Ice Caves is a major attraction, and an easy hike. The most awesome part of it for us was the dramatic drop in temperature as you move from the trail to the rock field lying in front of the primary cave.
>Boardman Lake Trail takes you high up to a mountain top lake that is both a bit cold and cool at the same time.
> Lake Twenty-Two is another major attraction, one that has been calling to us for a while.
Mt Pilchuck is one we will be doing at least part of, for the views of course.
The Mountain Loop Highway is more than just a place to hike and see beautiful things. It offers the best landscape photography and camping spots that can be found in Snohomish County, most within a 30 or so minute drive to the nearest city. Both have offered me countless days and hours of quality time and sharing interests with my kiddos, and of course the dog.
Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.
Single issues can be bought HERE and annual subscriptions, which include exclusive giveaways and discounts, can be signed up for HERE. Finally, a limited number of printed copies are available at The Chic Boatique, Artisans Mercantile, and Tried & True Boutique in Snohomish and Reclaimed Heart in Arlington, Vintage Company No. 7 in Bothell, Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace on Camano Island, Rustic Redemption in Granite Falls, and Vintage & Rust in Monroe.