4 Scenic Drives to Take Near Monroe
The Pacific Northwest is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Few other places are just a stone’s throw away from both verdant mountaintops and thickly forested islands. In a town like Monroe, you’re also just a day trip away from Seattle, one of the most modern metropolises in the world. And if you’d like to see what Mother Nature has to offer, there are a number of different directions you can go from Monroe.
The Stevens Pass Greenway
Monroe is right along the path of US-2, also known as the Stevens Pass Greenway. This road earned a National Scenic Byway designation in 2005, thanks to the way it wanders through the North Cascade Mountains. It goes along a natural path that gives drivers plenty to see as they pass through two national forests: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee. It’s a four-hour round trip if you go straight from Monroe to the end point in Wenatchee, but you could also take the whole Cascade Loop by going up to WA-20 (also known as the North Cascades Highway) and back south along Whidbey Island.
Head west to Mukilteo and you can take the 525 ferry to Whidbey Island, a long island located right between the mainland and the Olympic Peninsula. Taking the main highway is an hour-long trip on its own, but there are also plenty of roads that hug the coastline if an oceanside cruise is your idea of a good time. Once you’ve hit the north end, you can cross a bridge and take WA-20 and I-5 back south, or you can run the route in reverse for a surprisingly different experience.
The Hood Canal Loop
Instead of heading northwest to Mukilteo, try heading southwest to Edmonds and take the 104 ferry. Continue west to the Olympic Peninsula in order to make a circuit around the Hood Canal. This route involves taking the long way around WA-104, 19, and 20 until you hit US-101 and head south along the edge of the incredible Olympic National Park. Once you’re done with that, you can take WA-3 back northeast to find a ferry that will take you straight to Seattle or else continue around the inlets to reach I-5 and head back home that way.
If you’re in the mood for a shorter trip, try driving down WA-203 to Snoqualmie to see some half-tamed, half-wild land along the banks of the Snoqualmie River. This trip is just an hour and a half without traffic, making it a good choice for an afternoon cruise. Or, if you have more time to spare, you can head east along I-90 for a while to see the beauty of a different part of the Cascade Mountains.
Whether you head north, south, east, or west, there’s plenty to see for the residents of Monroe, who are lucky enough to live along the Cascade Loop. With so much to see and so many small towns to visit, it’s hard not to love this part of the country.
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