Motorcycle Touring: Mt Baker, Washington

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Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - AMS


Mt Baker Loop

Mighty Tasty Roads Here

Strap your dog onto your tourer, lace up the cruiser with bags, clip a tail pack onto your sport bike, or just jump on your scooter and ride... we're going on a scenic cruise through the foothills of the North Cascades and down the shoreline. 

This ride is about 350 miles, involves very little interstate driving and can be done in a day. However, if you'd like to enjoy it leisurely, plan to spend the night in Bellingham or Seattle, depending on your starting point. Unforeseen rain can also give cause to an overnight (as it did us during one pre-ride) so you one-dayers bring along an extra pair of undies and a toothbrush just in case. 

Begin with part one if you're starting near Seattle. Riders from Vancouver and near the Canadian border should begin with part two, and end with part one. Grab your map now and read on.

Part One - North to Mt. Baker

Begin your ride by making your way to Monroe. From Seattle take 520 to the end and continue up Avondale Road, turning right (heading east) on the Woodinville-Duvall Road. This will be your first taste of the many back road twisties that lie ahead. When you reach Duvall turn left after the bridge onto Hwy 203.  

From I-90 East take the Fall City exit and proceed up Hwy 203 north riding through Carnation and Duvall.

Once you're in Monroe you have two choices. Head straight at the junction of Hwy 203 and Hwy 2 across the street from the Texaco on the south side of Hwy 2, and make your way through the back roads to Granite Falls. Your other option is to head east on Hwy 2 and turn left at the Texaco on the north side of the street. Either way, wind your way northward to Granite Falls. It wouldn't be any fun if I told you what roads to take to get to Granite Falls. Using your compass and common sense just keep the bike moving north and explore these awesome back roads. The rule of thumb here is that if the road has double yellow lines and gets you north, you're going to make it to Granite Falls.

Once you're at Granite Falls there are plenty of choices for gas and eating. I like the Mexican place, and the Greek place across the street isn't bad either.  Names? Hey, I don't know, the town is small and there's only one of each.  

Don't waste your time trying to find Granite Falls.  It's nothing more than an oversized beaver dam with no romance to it.  Also, do not try to head east on Hwy 92 and ride around to Darrington. Some maps show this as a through road, but it washed out years ago and is hardly accessible with a dual sport.

Instead, go down Hwy 92 a few blocks west to Jordan Road and turn right. You're winding your way north to Arlington from here via Jordan, going left at Arlington Heights and left at Hwy 530. Before you know it, you pop into Arlington and you're at the junction for Hwy 9. I've been a good tour guide up until now keeping you off the ever so straight portion of Hwy 9 that bores riders to tears, but the fun part of Hwy 9 begins after Arlington and you're here!

Take a right and drive north. There will be a number of junctions along the way and you will stay with Hwy 9 at every one. Soon, you'll be passing Big Lake, where lunch can be had if you haven't done so yet. From here make your way to Clear Lake and then into Sedro-Wooley.

At Sedro-Wooley turn right on Hwy 20 and ride east for a mile or so until you see the junction for Hwy 9 north. Turning left you pick up Hwy 9 north and make your way into the surroundings of Mt. Baker.  Now would be an excellent time to start thinking about tanking up. You have 64 miles to Mt. Baker from here and there's just a couple of gas pumps along the way.    

Take a right now at Hwy 542 and begin your ascent into the beautiful forests on the north side of Mt. Baker. You'll be getting a look at this from the opposing direction when you return. As you head up the hill you'll pass through Slide, Maple Falls and then Glacier. And that's all she wrote. If you decide to continue to Heather Meadows, the end of the road, be sure you've got gas to get in and back, and note that sometimes there are no signs to say just how far Heather Meadows is. The final mile marker is 54, you've got about 25 miles to go.  

The last 6 miles of the ride are a biker's dream with twisties that would have Freud scratching his head. Indeed this stretch of road is so addictive you may just find yourself wanting to turn around and ride it again and again.  Road quality varies and please watch for pockets of gravel. Other than that, have fun and enjoy the view. You'll be asked to pay $5 to park at the top. Be sure to tell the park rangerette taking your money that this stretch of road is better than sex. It really makes her blush.).

Return to Hwy 9 and hang a right heading north. Make your way up the road and turn left on Hwy 542 West and ride that steed into Bellingham - the best is yet to come. At this point I would suggest getting a place to sleep for the night, I have a special surprise for you in the morning.

Part Two - Bellingham South to Seattle

Good Morning! Didn't I promise you a special surprise. I hope you've had a good night's sleep and that brood of seagulls scavenging at the restaurant nearby did their job in waking you up bright and early, the earlier the better. For what you ask? How about Chuckanut Drive at, say... 6 am. This is when the locals are asleep and mother nature is dawning a new day on the San Juan's just to the west.  You're all suited up and you're ready for some stunning scenery and great riding.

Make your way to Bellingham's State Street and head west toward the water. You'll soon be winding your way through Fair Haven. Get a latte if needed, but be on your merry way sooner than later. The locals are asleep and if it's a weekend morning chances are you'll pass about three cars in the next half hour. At the junction veer left onto Chuckanut Drive.

Chuckanut Drive is a grand road indeed. No need to break the speed limit to enjoy what this stretch has to offer. It's the closest you'll come to riding the stretch of Route 1 through Big Sur, California so enjoy. Your caution here is that if it's a cold morning you may encounter patches of ice. Ride Safe.

Riding south you'll hit a straight away and soon you'll be in Bow. Turn right at the post office and make your way toward Edison. What a cute little place Edison is, with just a few blocks of small town scenery and before you know it you're out as fast as you came in. Head toward Bay View using the Edison-Bayview Road.

More water views abound as you wind down into Bay View. Cross Hwy 20 and continue south toward La Conner. At the junction into La Conner go left and ride toward Conway, although meals and services can be had in La Conner if need be. Once in Conway, hang a right down the Pioneer Hwy and zip your way to Stanwood.  

Um, um,um. That stretch of Chuckanut still lingers in your road torn mind. You need more, you want more, you must have more of that. Here ya go! From Stanwood take Marine Drive south and drop into another series of twisties and sweepers you'll be phoning friends about as soon as you get home. Make your way south all the way to Marysville.  Again the speed limit does suffice for an exhilarating jaunt. 

Once in Marysville take I-5 south to the next exit, Port of Everett, exit there and make your way across the lower bridge into Everett winding your way southwest through the city toward Mukilteo. At the ferry dock take Hwy 525 east (Speedway) to 99 south and wind your way down toward Seattle. If watching ferries turns you on, use 104 and spin your way into Edmonds for services.

Patrick Thomas

Suggested Accommodations:


  • Motel 6 (inexpensive)
  • Best Western Lakeway (Moderate)


  • Eastlake Inn (inexpensive)
  • University Inn (moderate)
  • Hotel W (you're over the top, bubba, what are you doing with a motorcycle riding with scabs like us)

Selected M/C Service (North to South)

  • Bellingham Harley-Davidson - Bellingham
  • Skagit Harley Davidson - Mt. Vernon
  • Skagit Powersports - Mt. Vernon
  • Cycle Barn - Smokey Point
  • Everett Powersports - Everett
  • Lynnwood Cycle Barn - Lynnwood


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