State Route 11, also known as Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway, stretches about 22 miles between Burlington and Bellingham in the Salish Sea Region of Washington.
Completed in 1896, Chuckanut Drive provided land access to the community of Fairhaven. Now, it offers stunning views as well as access to great dining and popular hiking trails.
Visitors coming from the south can get there from Interstate 5 at exit 231 in Burlington, where you’ll pass picturesque farmland before winding your way north along the cliffs. Visitors from the north can access the drive from Fairhaven.
Although only some sections of the road offer bike lanes, the route is popular with cyclists. Be sure to keep an eye out — especially along the winding, cliff-hugging northern portion — and share the road with travelers on two wheels.
Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway Attractions
With many viewpoints and points of interest along the way, this drive is best done at a leisurely pace with plenty of time for stops. Working from south to north, here’s a bit of what you can expect.
Chuckanut Manor Seafood & Grill
Just north of the Samish flats, this quaint restaurant has been serving visitors and locals alike for more than 50 years. Open for lunch and dinner, Chuckanut Manor offers prime views and fresh seafood.
No matter the season, you’ll likely notice a line of cars parked on the side of Chuckanut Drive just south of the Oyster Bar restaurant. This is where you’ll find a trailhead for Oyster Dome, one of the most well-known hikes in the area. Those who choose to hike the steep switchbacks through the forest will be rewarded with fabulous views of Samish Bay and nearby islands. Tip: Visit on weekdays or early in the day before roadside parking fills up.
The Oyster Bar
Perched along the cliff overlooking the waters of Samish Bay, this fine-dining restaurant draws visitors from far and wide for its oysters, seasonal menu, and award-winning wine list. In warmer months, visitors can enjoy a meal on the outdoor deck.
Taylor Shellfish Farms
This fifth-generation family shellfish farm is the perfect stop for seafood lovers. The 1,700 acres of tidelands is where Taylor Shellfish grows its oysters, which you can order and shuck yourself or have a pro show you the ropes. There’s also a retail shop where you can grab clams, salmon, and more to enjoy later in the day.
Dogfish Point Viewpoint
Although there are many unnamed pullouts, the viewpoint at Dogfish Point is one of the best. It’s the perfect spot to take in sweeping views of Samish Bay and the nearby islands.
Larrabee State Park & Fragrance Lake Trail
Just north of Clayton Beach sits the main entrance to Larrabee State Park, the first designated State Park in Washington. Encompassing more than 2,000 acres covering beach, tidepools, and trails, Larrabee is a favorite among locals and visitors. The Fragrance Lake trailhead and parking lot are directly opposite the park entrance across Chuckanut Drive. At about 5 miles roundtrip, this wooded hike leads to a lovely, secluded lake.
North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead
This trailhead parking lot provides access to many excellent trails including Arroyo Park, Hemlock Trail, Lost Lake Trail, and the Pine and Cedar Lakes Trail. For those wanting to dip their toes in the water, Teddy Bear Cove boasts small, secluded patches of beach. Note that getting to the shore requires crossing Chuckanut Drive, then walking along the road for a short stretch.
Chuckanut Bay Gallery and Sculpture Garden
This unique gallery features pieces by Northwest artists working in everything from glass and wood to pottery and jewelry. Visitors can also explore an outdoor garden area complete with sculptures.
The last stop before arriving in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven District is Fairhaven Park, one of the city’s oldest parks. Here you’ll find tennis courts, a playground, and access to the Interurban Trail.
Be sure to explore the other scenic drives in Washington State as well.