Fodor's Expert Review Chuckanut Drive
Highway 11, also known as Chuckanut Drive, was once the only highway accessing Bellingham from the south. The drive begins in Fairhaven, reaches the flat farmlands of the Samish Valley near the village of Bow, and joins up with Interstate 5 at Burlington, in Skagit County; the full loop can be made in a couple of hours. For a dozen miles this 23-mile road winds along the cliffs above beautiful Chuckanut and Samish bays. It twists its way past the sheer sandstone face of Chuckanut Mountain and crosses creeks with waterfalls. Turnouts are framed by gnarled madrona trees and pines and offer great views of the San Juan Islands. Bald eagles cruise along the cliffs or hang out on top of tall firs. Drive carefully: the cliffs are so steep in places that closures resulting from rock slides occasionally occur in winter.