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North America > United States of America > Pacific Northwest > Washington (state) > North Cascades > Northwest Cascades

Northwest Cascades

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Northwest Cascades is in the North Cascades region of Washington.


Map of Northwest Cascades
  • 1 Anacortes - gateway to the San Juan Islands
  • 2 Bellingham - county seat of Whatcom County and last US city before Canada on I-5
  • 3 Birch Bay Birch Bay, Washington on Wikipedia
  • 4 Blaine - major border crossing with Canada
  • 5 Bow - a small coastal village at south end of Chuckanut Drive, near Burlington
  • 6 Burlington
  • 7 Concrete Concrete, Washington on Wikipedia
  • 8 Ferndale
  • 9 La Conner , famous for the local tulips and historic district
  • 10 Lummi Island
  • 11 Lynden , Dutch heritage and farming center
  • 12 Mount Vernon - county seat of Skagit County a major tulip growing area.
  • 13 Point Roberts - American enclaved community that you have to travel through Canada to reach by land
  • 14 Sedro-Woolley
  • 15 Sumas , border town

Other destinations[edit]

Artist Point on Mount Baker, a stiff hike to 5140', with a grand view at the top.
Mt Baker Vista at the end of Glacier Creek Road (Forest Road 39)

Commercial Establishments[edit]


This subregion consists of Whatcom County and Skagit County

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Bellingham International Airport (BLI IATA) is the primary airport serving the region. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA IATA), while located a way to the south of Seattle, is the closest national-grade airport in the USA. Vancouver International Airport (YVR IATA), while across the border in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, is sometimes convenient.

By train[edit]

Amtrak Cascades stops at Mount Vernon and Bellingham on its way north to Vancouver and south to Seattle

By car[edit]

From British Columbia[edit]

There are five land border crossing points, between the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada and the Northwest Cascades region of Washington state, USA. They are referred to by different terms in Canada and the US.

Land border crossings between the Lower Mainland and the Northwest Cascades
Canadian name US name Location Hours Comments
Douglas (Peace Arch) Blaine (Peace Arch) Surrey/White Rock, BC (Hwy 99) – Blaine, WA (I-5) 24 hours, daily (NEXUS: Canada-bound 7AM–12AM, US-bound 7AM–9PM) Primary border crossing point for passenger vehicles. No commercial traffic allowed. Best NEXUS lane access. The US side is undergoing major street and building construction, including minor detours in both directions, until mid-2010.
Pacific Highway Blaine (Pacific Highway) Surrey, BC (Hwy 15) – Blaine, WA (WA-543) (From Hwy 99 southbound take exit 2A and go along 8 Ave for 1.5km to Hwy 15. From I-5 northbound take exit 275 for WA-543.) 24 hours, daily (NEXUS: Canada-bound 2PM–6PM, US-bound 10AM–6PM) Also known as "Truck Crossing". Primary border crossing point for trucks and buses. Passenger and foot traffic also welcome, with waits usually shorter than at Peace Arch. Canadian and US Customs offices here are better places to ask questions than Peace Arch.
Aldergrove Lynden Aldergrove, BC (Hwy 13) – Lynden, WA (WA-539, the Guide Meridian) 8AM–12AM daily. Due north of Bellingham. Often has shorter lines than Peace Arch and Pacific Highway, but if you are going to or from Vancouver or the western suburbs the longer drive to Aldergrove usually eliminates this benefit.
Huntingdon Sumas Huntingdon, BC (Hwy 11) – Sumas, WA (WA-9) 24 hours, daily. The Canadian side is Abbotsford BC.
Boundary Bay Point Roberts Delta, BC (56th St) – Point Roberts, WA (Tyee Drive) 24 hours daily. (NEXUS: Canada-bound 9AM–9PM summer, 10AM–6PM winter; US-bound 11AM–7PM) This crossing is only useful for reaching Point Roberts, the US tip of a Canadian peninsula which extends just south of the 49° N latitude. There is no land access from there to the rest of the USA.

Visitors travelling to Vancouver by car across the U.S. border should be aware that there are often lengthy lineups at the border, in either direction. During summer, waits at the border can exceed three hours during peak times.

Inform yourself about the waits, and you can either delay your crossing until the lines subside, or choose the quickest crossing, or at least set your expectations. You can see current wait time forecasts for both directions on the Canada Border Services Agency website [1], and for US-bound traffic on the US Customs and Border Protection website [2]. Washington State also maintains graphs of estimated times in both directions [3]. It can be helpful to view webcams of the border lineups; Canada-bound on I-5 and US-bound at most crossings [4]. Two AM stations give regular updates on border lineups in both directions: News 1130 (1130 on the AM dial) every 10 minutes beginning at one minute past the hour, and AM 730 every 10-15 minutes. Electronic signs near the border on I-5, BC 99, #1 BC-11 and BC 15 give the current wait times at both the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway crossings, allowing you to choose the shorter option.

The NEXUS Land program [5] lets travellers who fill out an application and pass a security check use express lanes through US-Canada land borders by presenting a NEXUS card. However, you may only use the express lanes if everyone in your car has a Nexus card. There are also NEXUS programs for air and marine travel.

From other places in Washington[edit]

From Seattle and Puget Sound[edit]

Head north on I-5 from Seattle. Mount Vernon, Burlington, Bellingham, Blaine and Ferndale are directly on the highway. Other towns are usually a short drive away on local highways: see the individual Get in sections of the towns.

From Eastern Washington[edit]

The North Cascades Highway (SR-20) runs from the Okanogan valley area across the Cascades to Burlington and Sedro-Woolley; it is always closed in winter. Two passes across the Cascades further south are usually open all year (except in storms): US-2 over Stevens Pass from Wenatchee and I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass from Ellensburg: when you reach I-5 you will have to turn north to reach this region.

By boat[edit]

Ferries from Alaska and Victoria, Canada dock at the Bellingham Ferry Terminal. Several towns in the region, including Bellingham, Blaine and Anacortes, have marinas for private boats.

Get around[edit]





Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Northwest Cascades is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!