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A Weekend In Darrington

Come for the epic terrain and spectacular scenery; stay for the unique mountain culture and small town charm.

We get it. You have a puffy coat, a beanie, and your ‘Gram is all high res photos of mountainscapes. Perfect! Darrington, Washington is just the place for you. Spend a weekend here and you’ll see why this tiny mountain town is our favorite place to hole up for a couple days of digital detox. 

Darrington is located at the confluence of the Sauk and Stillaguamish River Valleys and the cusp of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Head any direction and you’re sure to find a trailhead. 

Let’s get exploring. 

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Biking on the Whitehorse Trail makes for a beautiful day. The 45-mile mostly-paved trail runs parallel to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River Valley. Moments from Darrington, you can enjoy mountain biking on the Whitehorse Mountain Bike Skills Course. This trail network is built to help build skills for bicyclists of all talent levels.

Hiking/Camping is a sure bet year-round for hearty souls. Boulder Creek follows a mossy path through montane forest. Climb White Chuck Mountain for a decent day hike; you’re sure to work up an appetite and return with amazing photos. North Mountain Lookout is a fire lookout that has been lovingly remodeled by a dedicated group of volunteers. It offers a panoramic view of the upper reaches of the North Stillaguamish River Valley.

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If you dig craft IPAs and have a working knowledge of hop varietals, you’ll love River Time Brewing. These guys don’t mess around when it comes to small batches of craft beer, so why not order a bunch in a flight? This beer nerd mecca also serves up slices of comfort food like cheesy ‘za, hot sammies and nachos -- the perfect eats to help sop up an afternoon happy hour.

Or, if your style is more old-time logger bar with neon, check out the Red Top Tavern. It’s a locals-only watering hole and has been since 1935. If you like live music, pool, karaoke, pull tabs, and sports games on the big screen, this is your jam.  

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What’s your dining pleasure after a day in the hills? Dos Agaves Mexican Restaurant has your comfort food in the form of cheesy, spicy dishes. Replenish your energy levels with Burger Barn -- and don’t stop at burgers. Their fish and chips and BLT are rightly hyped by locals.  Hometown Bakery Cafe is famous for its all-homemade pizza by the slice.

Pro tip: if you’re planning to dine out during your excursion, stop by the IGA. It’s the only grocery store in town. You’ll find prepared deli foods, bags of chips, water, beverages -- anything you need in the great outdoors. And when you’re done? Pack it out.

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There’s no place quite like The Shepherd’s Retreat. It’s a B & B that’s a working sheep farm in the shadow of Whitehorse Mountain. It was actually one of the first homes in the area. Camping is available -- either dispersed camping in the national forest areas (open Memorial Day through Labor Day), or with a permit at designated sites. There’s also a variety of AirBnB Lodging up for grabs -- everything from chalet-style cabins to Airstream trailers. 


Please recreate responsibly while visiting Darrington. This is a beautiful area worth visiting -- please keep it looking great for others who come after you. We know you’ll do the right thing.

  • Be safe out there. Bring the ten essentials
  • Leave no trace. Pack it out. 
  • This is a local community, buy locally and be respectful to the residents. 
  • Get the appropriate licenses and permits before you go. Visit the Gold Nugget Pawn in town for everything you need. 

Explore Darrington. Click map to view larger.

Endless adventure awaits. Explore the Stillaguamish-Sauk River Valleys.

Let's Go!

5 Places For Great Eats In Darrington

Homemade pizza? Check. Craft beer? Check. Tacos and hearty comfort food to fuel your adventure? Check and check.

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Managing Editor
Richard Porter
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