Diablo Lake

Northwest Washington

Since departing Lake Wenatchee we headed west along Highway 2 to Everett, just north of Seattle.  We are spending three weeks in northwest Washington. The last time I drove my RV through Seattle I promised myself that the next time I would go from Tacoma to Everett via Wenatchee. We didn’t go to Tacoma but did go via Wenatchee. The most direct route from Oregon to northwest Washington would have been on Interstate-5 through Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle. You could say we took the scenic route from Lake Wenatchee to northwest Washington and it was much more scenic than any drive through Seattle.

The Best Way

We have discovered the best way to transit a big city is on Sunday morning. We made a successful drive through Los Angles this way and really enjoyed the lack of traffic – on Sunday morning.

In Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee was beautiful and so was the drive through the Cascade Mountains to the west side of the mountain range. Here is the link to our stay at Lake Wenatchee, Nason Creek Campground.

Mount Baker, Northwest Washington
Mount Baker

Wenberg Park

Our destination was the county park near Marysville that used to be a Washington State park and now was gifted from the state to Snohomish County. The gift included lots of deferred maintenance.  Snohomish County turned Wenberg Park into a gem by upgrading the entire waterfront on the east side of Lake Goodwin.  The campground, with the exception of our location in the meadow, was too tight for our RV and during the weekend was crowded with families. Come Sunday afternoon we had the place to ourselves.

Bicycle Path

While at Wenberg Park we visited one of our favorite bicycle paths which is a converted Rails-to-Trails path that winds through the forest both north and south of Arlington called the Centennial Trail. The reason we love Rails-to-Trails conversions is that they are always gentle grades.  Trains don’t do well with steep hills – nor do I. The other major advantage of Rails-to-Trails conversions is that they are not on roads, thus no cars.

We last visited Arlington during our first year RVing in 2018 while we were staying at Jim Creek Recreation Area just to the east. Jim Creek is at the end of a dead-end road. Here is a link to our stay at Jim Creek. Jim Creek was a Navy Radio Station that was converted to a recreation area.

Pinnacle Peak Northwest Washington
Pinnacle Peak

Sedro Woolley

Moving north about 35 miles we stopped in the Sedro Woolley, Riverfront RV Park right next to the Skagit River.  The Riverfront Park is the site of the Independence Day Loggerodeo. This festival would have packed the park all weekend, including the RV Park, and would have been the site of the Sedro Woolley Fireworks display.  Sadly due to the COVID 19 virus social distancing guidelines, every part of the festivities, except the parade was canceled. Other than our RV, the host, and one other guest we had the place to ourselves.

For us, we got to see my daughter and grandchildren in a very empty park on the Fourth of July. It was very quiet, quite the opposite of the plan.  We still had large fireworks near the park, all provided by private parties, not the canceled city display.

Sarah, Asher, and Sebastian
Sarah, Asher, and Sebastian

While at Sedro Wooley, we visited Whidbey Island. On Whidbey Island, the Navy runs one of its best RV Parks.  We visited Cliffside RV located the base and they had plenty of room for us but was closed to retired visitors due to virus restrictions.

Cliffside RV Park, Whidbey Island Northwest Washington
Cliffside RV Park, Whidbey Island

Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Howard Miller Steelhead Park is another 35 miles up the Skagit River to the east and was our next and last stop on the rainy side of northwest Washington. We visited Howard Miller Steelhead Park, after Jim Creek in 2018 and we love it here.  There are two prime locations in Howard Miller, first, you can camp right next to the river or on the opposite side of the park. Away from the river, there are two spots intended for two RVs and intended groups getting together. Each has open-air bunkhouses and during COVID we have both of them – just for us. We use the bunkhouse for a garage and have been storing our bikes and chairs out of the rain in the shelter.  Here is a link to our 2018 stay at Howard Miller Steelhead Park.

Howard Miller Steelhead Park Northwest Washington
Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Yes, that is the picture of our RV site, on the far side of all that really green grass.  The last time we were here was in the last week of July, this time, early July. You can tell by the grass color that this has been a wet spring in northwest Washington, it was great and nearly as private during our last stay, but this time we have a huge yard.

Diablo Lake

While here at Howard Miller Steelhead, we made a trip to a local very nice lake named Lake Shannon and went for a very nice kayak paddle.  Lake Shannon has beautiful views of Mount Baker.  We also drove to North Cascades National Park for another kayak paddle on Diablo Lake. Ross Lake, just upstream and Diablo Lake has the most stunning colors which we first saw during our 2018 trip.  From Diablo Lake we got a wonderful view of the high country, still holding snow on Pinnacle Peak.

Tami kayak on Diablo Lake Northwest Washington
Tami kayaking on Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake now holds the record for the prettiest place we have taken the kayaks. It is going to take a lot to beat the color of the water although I understand we might find a prettier lake on our way east in Glacier National Park or near Coeur d’Alene Idaho.

Here is a link to our Campsite Review of Wenberg Park

Here is a link to our Campsite Review of Riverfront Park

Here is a link to our Campsite Review of Howard Miller Steelhead Park

3 thoughts on “Northwest Washington”

  1. Love the pictures and stories. It’s so good to see family. We need to never take any day for granted.
    Ted and I are living vicariously through you. We definitely need to take on some of your adventures and follow you around. It’s a big beautiful country we have. Hope it will always be that way.
    Ted & Judy

  2. Haha… I have nothing to contribute to conversations about lithium batteries, but travel stories? Sign me up!!

    You continue to find fantastic, less well known (at least to me) spots, and you keep getting great campsites. That lawn is dreamy! And the color of Diablo Lake is unreal!

    As for traveling through Seattle, I decided to focus our upcoming travels on the western side of the Cascades, in part, to avoid that very trip. Sunday morning is definitely a good time to go, though, if you’re gonna do it. We’ve also had luck traveling on weekdays, smack dab in the middle of the day – like 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. But yeah, Sunday is definitely easier.

    1. Some day I will include a section on how I pick campsites. I’ll give you a hint on the methodology. I’m cheap.

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