The Mountain Loop Highway starts in Granite Falls and travels east into the mountains until it turns north from Barlow Pass to Darrington. Click and drag in the map below to follow it up along the beautiful Stillaguamish River.
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The region is well known for the many recreational opportunities it offers. The Mountain Loop Highway was selected to be a part of the National Scenic Byway system in 1990. Roads are included that have certain intrinsic qualities such as natural features, historic elements, and recreational and scenic quality. Many people travel to the Mountain Loop Highway from Seattle and other large metropolitan areas. The Old Robe Trail and many trails in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest are frequently featured in area newspapers and guidebooks. People enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, bird watching, kayaking, swimming, fishing, hunting, bicycling, cross country skiing and sledding along the Mountain Loop Highway.
The wide variety of habitats in the region is home to a multitude of plant and animal species. Numerous species of moss and fern grow in the shadows of the old growth forests. Salmon and steelhead can be found in the Stillaguamish River and its tributaries. Amphibians, like the red-legged frog, find a home in the undisturbed habitats along the Mountain Loop. Bald eagles and ospreys are frequently seen gliding above the mountains and valleys. The marbled murrelet, a small endangered seabird, makes its long journey from the ocean to nest in forests in the area. Bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote and deer are some of the mammals living in the area.
This area has a rich and varied cultural history. When silver and gold were discovered in the area, a railroad line was put in along the Stillaguamish River. The boom town of Monte Cristo flourished. The economy changed and the rail line kept getting washed out by the river. Monte Cristo became a ghost town and is now a destination of hikers in the region. In the past, this area was also known for its logging industry. Remnants of equipment from decades ago can still be found in the forests. Visit the Granite Falls Historical Museum on Sundays to see some great collections.