The North End Tour

THE NORTH END TOUR - Section 1

THE NORTH END TOUR - Section 2

Departure Time:  08:00

Car Checklist:

  • A full tank of fuel

Dan’s Notes:

I've divided the maps of this drive into two sections so I highly recommend you stop and take a look at the map ahead of time so the roads are somewhat familiar. This comfortable day drive will take you over to the quiet town of La Conner, up the famous Chuckanut Drive into Fairhaven, around Lake Whatcom, down the twisty fun of Highway 9, and out the back roads of Arlington, Granite Falls, and Snohomish. Though not the quickest drive due to traffic at first, you’ll have a great time exploring as you drive and I’ve planned a few great stops to keep things tasty and interesting. And don't worry, the roads get really interesting (and twisty) in section 2! 

The Drive:

Redmond to Silvana via Pioneer Highway (Begin Section 1)

This is one of my favorite drives and has been since I was a teenager skipping school. You’ll start by taking an easy drive up north via I-5 to exit 208, the Arlington/Silvana exit. Head west toward Silvana and you’ll find yourself twisting through farm country on the old Pioneer Highway. The smells can be a bit much, but the road is in good condition and makes for a good warm up run.

Silvana to La Conner

From there you’ll go through Stanwood and into Skagit county across the Tulip Fields in La Conner. You’ll have plenty of food options to choose from, including some on the water. This is a great place to walk around and enjoy all the little shops the town has to offer.

La Conner to Bayview State Park

Next stop is a little park most people forget about it called Bayview State Park - the entrance is on the RIGHT side of the road and then drops under the road to get to the park. It’s pay to park if you want to picnic, so keep that in mind. Also watch our for speed bumps! This is not a low car friendly park but my Corvette had no trouble at stock height.

Bayview to Fairhaven

Next you’ll head up Chuckanut! Yes it’s a silly name, yes it’s fun. However… it’s crowded. I’ve never been up Chuckanut without getting stuck behind some idiot doing 10 under and blocking traffic. Still, you’ll be happy to see beautiful views and lots of places to pull off and see the ocean. I’ve seen whales several times from the overlook spots, so take your time! You’ll end your drive in downtown Fairhaven, where I recommend Rocket Donuts and Acme Ice Cream!

Fairhaven to Woods Coffee in Boulevard Park

It’s just a quick little drive across town to Boulevard park where you’ll get some good coffee and find a HUGE pier to walk out and explore. Chrysalis Inn and Spa is great for a romantic stay or dinner if you’re so inclined.

Boulevard Park to Lake Whatcom/Wickersham (Begin Section 2)

Take it easy on this little section until you get past Geneva or you might find yourself with a big ticket! Still, the road from Sudden Valley to Wickersham is a short little riot of a drive, and then you’ll find yourself on Highway 9 south.

Wickersham to Trails End

Stay on 9 South and you’ll be enjoying the fun that is driving around Big Lake and the tight corners of 9. This road can get a little busy on the weekend, but you should easily find some space to have some “spirited” moments. Enjoy a great dinner at the end of the day at Trails End Taphouse in Snohomish!

Section 1:

Section 2: