On its way east from Interstate 5, Highway 20 skirts Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, the latter a former mill and logging town now considered the gateway to the Cascades. Fronted by a huge black steam engine, the settlement has a bit of an old downtown and a smattering of Tar Heel culture, as it was settled by pioneer loggers and farmers from North Carolina. It also has an institute that arranges trips into North Cascades National Park, and a nearby park headquarters.

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