In late January, five Vancouverites made a city break. But this time they took a road less travelled.
Weekend escapes from Vancity often take three forms: east into the Interior (“Oh haaay Wine Country“), over the Georgia Straight to Victoria (home to my favourite restaurant), or down the I-5 to Seattle (“Go Hawks!”).
In a departure from the norm, we went south, swung east at Arlington, and made for the Cascade Mountains. Destination: Darrington.
If you’re thinking, “Darring-what?” it’s okay. I had never heard of it until we went.
How’d we end up there? Us gals were after a woodsy weekend away and the Stillaguamish River Valley came recommended to us by the folks at the tourism office. Up the Stilly, they assured, we’d find mountains, crisp air, wood stoves, tall trees, and plenty of quiet.
For a place that doesn’t show up on your mobile map until you’re pretty zoomed in, Darrington is quite a remarkable place. Fun fact, it’s the birthplace of Bob Barker. It sits on the Sauk River, just below the largest hanging glacier in the Lower 48: Whitehorse Glacier. Darrington also lies on the scenic Mountain Highway Loop, which offers access to Washington’s Big Four Ice Caves. And as the name suggests, the town is butted right up against jaw-dropping mountains (The Cascades) and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
With all this natural beauty, it’s little wonder why we kept meeting people who had relocated here for lifestyle reasons; the siren’s call of the mountains echoes loud and clear.
If it all sounds a little remote, trust me, it’s not. From Vancouver, it only takes two hours to reach Arlington, and Darrington is just another 35 minutes further east.
Once you’re there, you’ll find a craft brewery, quaint bookshop cafe, artisan shops, The Red Top (go, don’t ask), and an IGA. North of Oso there’s just one lodging – Ellerie’s River Cabins – and they’re seriously cozy. Cozy AF.
Peep our trip:
What’s there to do in the Stillaguamish River Valley, you ask?
- River rafting in summer and scenic river floats in winter
- Sip local brews at River Time Brewing
- Snuggling up next to a crackling fire in a cozy cabin
- Bliss out at Summer Meltdown Festival, Washington’s Shambala equivalent (August)
- Explore Washington’s Big Four Ice Caves
- Horse Around at Rhodes River Ranch
- Hike Old Sauk Trail (9.65 km, minimal elevation gain)
- Day-trip to Stanwood for Polish food and cupcakes
- Shopping for vintage treasures in this well-curated antique shop: Doilies 2 Doorknobs
Have you ever been up the Stilly River Valley? Does a cozy cabin weekend appeal to you? Drop me a comment below.
*All opinions are my own*
**Accommodations and river floating were provided to me at no cost**
***Need help planning your getaway? Check the visitor resources here: snohomish.org***