Washington Filmworks uses our Location of the Month newsletters to showcase the diversity of unique looks and resources for production in a number of jurisdictions around Washington State. Find previous installments archived on our website and on the WF Blog.

Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway – March 2017

Washington Filmworks wants to continue to share the best filming locations that our state has to offer. This month, we are highlighting one of the 29 stunning Washington State Scenic Byways.

The National Scenic Byways Program maintains a system of nationally designated routes selected from state programs. Washington State contains two All American Roads and five National Scenic Byways, which are known collectively as America’s Byways. In addition, the Washington State Legislature has set aside 22 State Scenic Byways to preserve and enhance the unique scenic, historic or recreational qualities found along these routes.

Each byway travels a different route throughout the state, taking drivers all along and into our diverse landscapes and natural wonder. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

 How Long is the Byway?

Photo Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

Chuckanut Drive, Washington State Route 11, is slightly over 21 miles long. The north end of the byway (mileposts 21 to 9) curves along the Chuckanut Mountains, and the south end of the byway (mileposts 8 to 0) runs through the Skagit County Valley farmlands located on the delta of the Skagit River.

Chuckanut Drive offers views of the San Juan Islands, the Chuckanut Mountains, Samish Bays, Olympic Mountain Range and Lummi Island.

Cities or Towns Along the Way

Photo Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

The byway starts/ends on the south side of Bellingham, in the city’s Historic Fairhaven Village, filled with restaurants, galleries, bookstores, fine gifts, grocery stores, gas stations and more (milepost 20). Fairhaven is known for its Victorian-era charm, artsy shopping and delicious restaurant options. The Historic Fairhaven Village is located on the southern edge of Bellingham Bay and the northern point of Chuckanut Scenic Byway.

Fairhaven is known for frequently hosting festivals and special events on its grassy Village Green. Events include Dirty Dan Day, the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, Summer Solstice Artwalk, Fairhaven Steampunk Festival and the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema.

On the Skagit side of the byway, are the towns of Bow and Edison, located off of milepost 7. Both cities are tiny communities that were established by homesteaders in 1869. Today they’re known for a handful of artisan restaurants and cheese farms.

Featured Stops and Sights

Photo Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

There are many trailheads and parks along the way.

  • Mile 20 – Old Fairhaven Parkway with access to Bellingham’s Historic Fairhaven Village, Bellingham Cruise Terminal and Fairhaven Station, the entrance to Fairhaven Park at Padden Creek, the Interurban Trailhead, parking and restrooms.
  • Mile 19 – North Chuckanut Mountain trailhead, Chuckanut Art Gallery, and turnoffs to Old Samish Road that lead to the Cedar and Pine Lakes trailhead.
  • Mile 18 – Teddy Bear Cove Trailhead with parking. The wooden staircase takes you down through the trees and over the railroad tracks to two water access points—this is a true local secret gem, with bioluminescence that happen in the waters.
  • Mile 16 – Boat launch and cove access down Cove Road that allows water crafts such as powerboats, rowboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, jet skis, and inflatables.
  • Mile 15 — Larrabee State Park’s main entrance, with parking and restrooms. Larrabee Park is the oldest State Park in Washington, and with its 1,885 acres set along the salty shores of Samish Bay, it has a lot to offer. Here you’ll find RV & tent campsites, restrooms with showers, beach access, trails, and tide pools. It connects to other hiking trails through the Chuckanut Mountains and Arroyo Park through the Interurban Trail system. With an option of a view from Chuckanut viewpoint, Lost Lake and Fragrance Lake Trail, the trailhead is across the street from the Larrabee State Park entrance. The Chuckanut Mountains are home to several trails with beautiful views, like Chuckanut Ridge, Fragrance Lake, Pine and Cedar Lakes, North Lost Lake, Hemlock, Salal, Huckleberry Point, and Raptor Ridge trails.
  • Mile 11 – With waterfalls emerging from the rocks that border the byway, you will find yourself at the entrance of Taylor Shellfish Farm, where you will follow the side-road down the bluff for about a half mile. Here you will have access to the freshest oysters, crab and mussels grown in the Salish Sea.
  • Mile 10 – Blanchard Mountain, with hiking access to the trailhead for the Oyster Dome, the Samish Lookout, and Lily Lake Trailhead. While there you can visit Windy Point Restaurant and the B&B.
  • Mile 7 – Cafes, bakery, antiques & collectables shops, and restaurants, all in Bow-Edison.The woodsy bends and gorgeous island views of Chuckanut Drive provide a natural backdrop for showcasing cars on the road. This byway has been used as a location for commercials by many world class companies, including Cadillac, Chevy, Ferrari, Ford, Nissan, Porsche, and Toyota.

Photo Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

Projects Filmed Along the Byway

The woodsy bends and gorgeous island views of Chuckanut Drive provide a natural backdrop for showcasing cars on the road. This byway has been used as a location for commercials by many world class companies, including Cadillac, Chevy, Ferrari, Ford, Nissan, Porsche, and Toyota.

 Closest Major Cities

Photo Credit: Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

On the north end is Bellingham, population 85,000. On the south end of the byway is Burlington, population 8,500.

Film Liaisons For This Byway

Annette Bagley, Director of Marketing, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, (360) 671-3990,tourism@bellingham.org.

Accommodations Along the Way

Accommodations can be found here.


1411 Fourth Ave., Suite 420
Seattle,WA 98101
(206) 264-0667
Washington Filmworks is the non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that manages the state film and production incentive programs. Its mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile, and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. We do this by creating possibilities for local and national filmmakers, offering comprehensive production support, as well as financial incentives.