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Cumberland Pass

Cumberland Pass Is A Combination Of Dramatic Rock, Alpine Marshes & Trees Sculpted By Winter's Snows
Getting a view of Whitehorse Mountain from Forest Road #18
Photo by Martha Rasmussen

To start your scenic backroad drive up to Cumberland Pass, drive about 5 miles west from Darrington on SR 530, turn right onto Swede Heaven Rd, drive 1.5 miles, turn right on  FS Rd. #18.  You are beginning to drive up Segelsen Ridge and beyond.

Segelsen Lake along Forest Road #18, photo by Martha Rasmussen

When you have driven 12.7 miles on FS Rd. #18 you will see your first glimpse of Segelsen Lake on the right.  At this point the surrounding vegetation seems to undergo a magical transformation of lush subalpine wildflowers.

Looking down at the beaver pond, photo by Martha Rasmussen

A little after passing the lake, keep right at the "Y," and then at 13.4 miles you will come to Segelsen Ridge Falls and Crescent Falls lacing the rock faces to the right of the road.  When you reach 18.1 miles you can turn left and drive 1.3 miles to a beaver pond.  This is one of the many great places for a picnic.  If you opt to turn off to this beaver pond, this side trip needs to be subtracted from your driving directions.  You can also continue for a short ways past the beaver pond and find the very scenic Higgins creek, a favorite rock-hounding spot with a single primitive campsite just before the bridge over the creek.  The road is closed shortly after the bridge.

Coming up to the boulders a rock formations at Cumberland Pass, photo by Martha Rasmussen

To continue your trip to Cumberland Pass return to FS Rd. #18 and turn left up the mountain.  When you reach 24.1 miles turn left onto FS Rd. #17,  you will notice the road becomes paved for a short distance, just a little beyond this at 24.9 miles you will come to a second beaver pond.  You reach the beautiful Cumberland Pass at 33.2 miles.  You can see two huge rock formations with alpine marshes on both sides of the road.  This is when you want to pull over and take your time. Everywhere you look nature has crafted gardens of rock and water.  Wildflowers and butterflies are abundant.
Autumn at the tarns of Cumberland Pass

From this point you can continue down the other side of the pass to the South Skagit Hwy. along the Skagit River if you want to take the long way back to Darrington or explore Sedro-Woolley or Mt. Vernon, but the best of the scenic drive is behind you and you would be amazed at what new vistas you can see if you retrace your steps and come at it from the opposite direction.