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Scenic Backroad Drives For Fall

Driving the Mountain Loop Highway In Fall

When the frost and colder nights change the leaves of the alders and maples to golden and crimson it is a good time to make your last drive on the Mountain Loop Highway.  The Mountain Loop Highway is a 54 mile road with about 2/3 of it unpaved.  This road is seasonally closed as winter nears and snow begins to accumulate at Barlow Pass, the highest elevation of the road.

Monte Cristo Lake in fall along the Mountain Loop Highway,

photo by Martha Rasmussen

White Chuck Ridge

White Chuck Ridge is a long high elevation backroad taking you to panoramic views of the mountains and valleys below.  Because of the higher elevation this road tends to not be drivable in late fall due to snow.  In early fall the alpines are usually still in bloom making this a one of a kind destination.

A view from White Chuck Ridge, photo by Nels Rasmussen, DC

The roads to White Chuck Ridge are high clearance vehicle roads with lots of ups and downs finally ending up near the top of the ridge.  It is always best to purchase a Darrington Ranger District map at the Darrington Ranger Station which shows all the roads before heading out.

Looking at the roller-coaster road to White Chuck Ridge,
photo by Martha Rasmussen

Rat Trap Pass

Rat Trap Pass and White Chuck forest service roads are a scenic loop connecting from the Mountain Loop Hwy. to White Chuck road #23 driving east then heading north on Rat Trap Pass road #27.  as you drive on #27 you will pass the Trailhead for Meadow Mountain and Crystal Lake on the right and Rat Trap Falls on the left. 

A view of White Chuck Mountain From Rat Trap Pass Road,

photo by Martha Rasmussen

At the end of the road you will come to the Boundary Bridge crossing over the Suiattle River, turn west onto the Suiattle road, forest road #26 then back down SR 530 towards Darrington.  While in town you can enjoy a hot coffee or cocoa at the Mountain Loop Book & Coffee and get local information of the Darrington area and upcoming events, stretch your legs and let the kids play at Old School Park.

Rat Trap Falls,
Photo by Nels Rasmussen, DC