Chuckanut Drive is a bit of a throwback. As anyone in Western Washington knows, this road is narrow, tight, and often terribly busy. It’s also quite scenic, and that’s what most of the cagers are going there for. Chuckanut provides many different views of Puget Sound and the many curves and pulloffs provide myriad spots for the cagers to stop and gawk mid-corner. Chuckanut is very narrow. The right of way for SR11 is barely wide enough for the existing roadway and wouldn’t likely be wide enough for any expansion effort. Furthermore, the encroaching development along Chuckanut appears to be fueling increased anti-growth sentiment judging by the signs against the Chuckanut Ridge development.
Chuckanut’s curves are very tight with small radii and come in tightly-spaced groups. The straights between the esses are rather short and can sometimes be measured in mere tens of feet. Thankfully, very few of the curves on Chuckanut are decreasing radii as most of them are quite blind. Between the narrow roadway and tight corners, this road can be quite a handful when you add the third leg of the triumvirate: traffic.
The nature of the traffic on Chuckanut is that if you time your trip poorly, it will certainly be quite vexing. Cagers, as is their wont, will brake in all of the wrong places and drive much too slowly through any area with a view. If you time your trip during the week and the morning or mid-day, you’ll have a much better change of having a good riding experience on this route.
Also watch the speed limits along this route. Speed Enforcement is on the increase along this road due to complaints from the people who are building all the houses along Chuckanut Ridge and the number of crashes from over-cooking the sharp corners.
In all, it’s a good alternative to I-5 if you’re not in a hurry. It definitely beats the pants off rolling down the Interstate.
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