INTRODUCTION: Seattle Recreation and the North Cascades
In the North Cascades area stretching north from Highway 2, Walker Valley offers a large amount of riding for both dirt bikes and quads, though most of the trails are built for dirt bikes. It is a popular area, and likely draws both professional and amateur MX riders from the surrounding counties. The entrance to Walker Valley is located southeast of Mount Vernon and is likely located on most regional maps.
Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) - Highway 20 actually starts a good distance away from the Cascade Mountains, near the waters of the Puget Sound at an intersection with Highway 101 at Discovery Bay near Port Townsend. From there it travels hundreds of miles east to Newport, near the Idaho state line, and connects with Highway 2.
Highway 530 - Highway 530 connects Highway 9 in Arlington with the North Cascades Highway in Rockport. Crossing through Darrington and traveling north alongside the Skagit River, Highway 530 is a popular route for taking motorcycle rides, as it offers the most scenic route up to the North Cascades Highway.
Mt. Baker Highway (Highway 542) - Also known as SR 542, the Mt. Baker Highway begins in Bellingham, and ends at the Mt. Baker Ski Area. It passes through the towns of Deming, Kendall, Maple Falls, and Glacier.
Mountain Loop Highway - Also known as SR 92 Extension, the Mountain Loop Highway connects the towns of Granite Falls with Darrington. It's paved for the first 34 miles, and then becomes a gravel road at Barlow Pass, which continues for 13 miles before becoming paved again. This leaves 9 miles to Darrington, on paved road. The Mountain Loop Highway is a total of 57 miles, from Granite Falls, to Darrington. At Barlow Pass, the Mountain Loop Highway is often closed, due to snow. However during the summer months the gate at Barlow Pass is generally open. For pass conditions, call the Verlot Ranger Station at (360) 691-7791.
Highway 2 / Stevens Pass - Highway 2 begins at Exit 194 on Interstate 5 in Everett, WA, and travels east through the towns of Monroe, Sultan, Start Up, and Gold Bar, as well as Index and Skykomish, and then up over Stevens Pass. From Stevens Pass, Highway 2 descends into Leavenworth, and then a half-hour further into the city of Wenatchee.
GoNorthCascades.com attempts to list hiking trails as we either trek them ourselves, have them recommended by friends or other readers, or read about them through other resources, such as books, news articles, and websites.
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