This is a tour of the Mountain Loop Scenic Byway, which connects Granite Falls with Darrington in eastern Snohomish County. Written and curated by David Cameron and Louise Lindgren. Map by Marie McCaffrey. Sponsored by the Snohomish County Community Heritage Program.
Completed at the start of World War II (likely, late 1941), the Mountain Loop Highway was the dream of auto enthusiasts, as well as residents of the isolated valleys of eastern Snohomish County. From Granite Falls up the South Fork Stillaguamish River the road bypassed treacherous Robe Canyon but otherwise followed the route of the pioneering Everett & Monte Cristo Railway from Verlot to Barlow Pass. There it linked to the Sauk River truck trail, constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps crews under U.S. Forest Service leadership. In the 1980s the White Chuck River to Darrington portion was rerouted and paved, following the Sauk River Lumber Company abandoned railroad grade.
The highway provides access to a popular camping, hiking, and scenic recreation area. It is rich in mining, forest, and Native American history. Winter driving is restricted by gates above Silverton and Bedal due to heavy snow.