The County Loop: Skagit Valley, WA

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The County Loop

Skagit County, WA

Well, after a number of county loops outside of Washington proper, a few readers barked up and asked for one closer to home. We've chosen a doozy. Skagit County has some of the best motorcycling roads around, and you can ride all day here and still not be done with the place.

For this loop we take you though the back forty of Skagit, then through the farmlands, out to the coast, up to Mt Erie, along some magical Indian reservation roads, through the tulip and bulb fields and east to some of our favorite twisties. Like a Victoria's Secret fashion show, this ride is packed with beautiful looks and great curves.

CLICK HERE
to download a free printable map with turn by turn directions. 
CLICK HERE
to download a universal GPX file for your GPS. (Free with any purchase inside the Sound RIDER! store between now and February 28th, 2012).

We begin our ride from the parking lot of Skagit Powersports. Bill, Edie and their competent staff are there to serve you in case you need to top off your oil, adjust your tire pressure or just want to get some of those fresh doughnuts and coffee they have on hand every Saturday morning.

Heading north on Old 99 you'll also have a chance to top off your tank at the nearby Shell station. Then the fun begins. Follow the map and directions and work your way back into the wooded northwest end of the valley. Directions here are tricky so review them before you ride, store 'em in your tank bag and use the GPS file if it makes your life easier.

Soon enough you'll work your way north and then west out toward Chuckanut Drive. A favorite food stop here is the Rhododendron Cafe, which is situated on the corner where you'll head west to the small village of Edison. Once you pass Edison, keep going west, then south to US 20.

Oh, I know US 20 isn't a very interesting road, but it's just a connector to get you to the next set of great roads that lie just south of Anacortes. Make your way to Heart Lake Road and then up the super curvy Mt. Erie Road. At the top, park your bike and take in the expansive view from atop this 1,273 foot high mountain that is so cool ... it even has it's own Wikipedia page.

Review the upcoming directions and wind your way back down the hill heading south and then east around Pass Lake. Take a small stretch of  US 20 and then duck into our next series of scenic roads that will pull you along the water's edge east of Deception Pass. We keep you off US 20, and instead shoot you down through the Swinomish Indian Reservation and into La Conner, where at this point a break is in order.

There are a lot of restaurants in La Conner, but we gravitate toward Seeds Bistro, which serves up healthy local Skagit fare rather than the run-of-the-mill junk food found on the main drag. You'll find Seeds just as you get to the end of Maple Avenue where it junctions with Morris. Parking is available around back.

If it's Tulip Festival time (April), you may see some wall to wall traffic out in the valley. We've provided a less obvious route for you to skirt the congestion using Dodge Valley Road. During the warmer months, you'll find the local organic food vendor open on Best Road just as you turn onto it.

Continue east and use the directions to climb up Finn Settlement Road. Some maps show it as unpaved, but fear notit is paved. Continue until you hit Lake Cavanaugh Road, turn left and make your way over to SR 9. Ride through Big Lake, then enjoy a romp through the fields using Gunderson and Beaver Lake roads. Finally, take SR 9 north, do the short SR20 zig-zag, then use Cook Road to ride west back to your starting point.

Distance on this ride is 124 miles, but the saddle time is about 4.5 hours. With time to site see, breaks and lunch you'll need about 6.5 to complete the route. Too much fun!

TM/Winter '12

 


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