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Darrington

This 82 mile side trip follows the north fork of the Stillaguamish River up into the North Cascade Mountains from farmland to mining towns.

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Key waypoints and Main Street communities along the tour leg. Sites you do not want to miss!

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The North Fork of the river rises in the mountains of south central Skagit County and flows south into Snohomish County, then west to join the South Fork near Arlington. The South Fork rises near Big Four Mountain in east central Snohomish County and flows west and northwest to the North Fork. The combined river heads west to Port Susan and Skagit Bay at Stanwood. The river valley is at...

Learn more about Stillaguamish River Valley

A Norwegian trading center on the delta of the Stillaguamish River. Slowly, in the course of many years, the river has deposited its load of silt, inching its way toward the Sound. The town still experiences flood conditions during the spring runoff. To gain a measure of safety, houses formerly were built on foundations several feet high and sidewalks were raised a number of feet above the ground. Flood control...

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Located at the junction of the north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River. In 1864 the first pioneer, Captain Daniel Marvin, anchored a scow on the north fork of the river to serve as his temporary home. Although it once ranked among the region’s largest shingle manufacturing centers, by the 1940s Arlington had only one mill and, like many other western Washington towns, had turned to dairying, poultry-raising, truck-gardening,...

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Prior to 1890, the town's name was Glendale. In 1890, the post office changed to the present name because of confusion with Glendale, Oregon and with Glendive, Montana. The name Trafton was the choice of George Estabrook, who owned the town site. He attached the abbreviation for town to the first syllable of Trafalgar, a famous square in London which in turn was named for the Battle of Trafalgar where...

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Points of Interest
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Trafton Schoo

Mile: 26

The name is reported to have been chosen by J. P. Britzius for a town in Fayette County, Texas. No town of that name is listed in Texas but there are geographic features in Presidio and Nueces Counties named Oso. A previous name was Allen, for John B. Allen, a territorial delegate to Congress. It was changed to Oso because of possible confusion with the town of Allyn in Mason...

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Points of Interest
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Oso Elementary School

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Whitehorse Trail

Mile: 33

It was once the site of important logging and milling industries. An early name was Packard for Clayton Packard, a timber man. When the town was platted and named by Peter D. McMartin in 1903, he used the name of his first child. By the 1940s the town consisted of a row of old moss-covered houses, badly in need of paint, around the remains of a shingle mill.

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Points of Interest
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Walter Higgins Homestead

Mile: 39

Beneath snow-capped Jumbo Peak and the Whitehorse Mountains is Darrington, a lumber town huddled along the banks of the Sauk River. “Tarheels,” North Carolinians and their families who came here in 1914-16, constitute a large part of the population. Tourist trade brings revenue to Darrington, the last outpost in the picturesque region of the Sauk and Suiattle Rivers, the Whitechuck Valley, and the Squire Creek country. It was a meeting...

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Points of Interest
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Darrington Ranger Station

Mile: 49