Some days, there’s nothing better than getting in the car and seeing where the road will take you. From Mount Vernon you can explore a different corner of the Northwest everyday. As you travel around, take note of Skagit’s barns. Fifty-five of them, the largest collection in the state, have been designated heritage barns. Plan a trip around seeing them all or just know where to spot them as you’re out exploring. Enrich your experience by learning more about barn types and their uses.
Cascade Loop is a 400-mile journey encompassing both sides of the Cascades. From Mount Vernon, two of the national scenic byways along the loop make great day trips.
- Heading east into the upper Skagit, the North Cascade Scenic Highway leads you through North Cascades National Park and the most incredible mountain scenery in Washington. Diablo Lake Dam area boat and walking tours are fun and informative.
- Heading west to Fidalgo Island, Whidbey Scenic Isle Way starts at Deception Pass Bridge and runs the length of Whidbey Island’s coastline past historic military forts and farms.
Other day trips ideas not part of the loop include:
- From Mount Vernon, Mt Baker Scenic Highway starts with a short trip north on I-5 to exit 255 (Sunset Drive, east), then follow it about 56-miles up the mountain past Mt Baker Ski Area, ending at Heather Meadows Visitor Center. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy viewpoints or hikes along the way.
- Chuckanut Drive or State Route 11 is a 21-mile scenic byway connecting Skagit to Whatcom County. From Mount Vernon, head north on 1-5 to Chuckanut Drive exit 231, then slow down and enjoy pastoral farmland through quiet towns before hugging the Chuckanut mountainside all the way to the historic town of Fairhaven, a suburb of Bellingham. Make sure to enjoy a gorgeous sunset, tide pool beach and forested trail along the way. For a list of merchants, click here.
- From Mount Vernon, head to the Washington State Ferries Anacortes terminal where you can park and walk or bike on, or bring your car. Either way, the ferry does the driving through the San Juan archipelago while you enjoy the ride. Friday Harbor is the San Juans biggest town and is easily walkable. Access to Sidney/Victoria, BC is limited to the summer.