Everett to Lake Stevens
The downtown has several buildings of interest from this era. The Snohomish County Court House was built in 1910 in the California mission style. The Everett Theatre dates from 1901, and the restored 1925-era Monte Cristo Hotel is another historic building. Many large homes lining Rucker and Grand avenues north of the downtown were owned by timber barons. Today, the city has pleasant residential neighborhoods overlooking the bay, the Olympics and the Cascades. Children of all ages can also enjoy the interactive spaces at the Imagine Children’s Museum in downtown Everett.
Everett has several large parks as well. At the north end of town, the Snohomish River makes a broad turn and empties into Port Gardner Bay. American Legion Memorial Park contains the 2.4-acre Everett Arboretum and Gardens, with a collection of native and exotic plants. At the southern end of Everett, Forest Park features a children’s zoo and water playground.
Down on the waterfront visit the Everett Marina Village with its collection of shops and eateries. Just south of the marina is the large Naval Station Everett, established in the early 1990s. The base is home to several naval vessels, including seven guided missile destroyers as of the spring of 2022. Just offshore lies Jetty Island, a wildlife refuge, home to seabirds and a colony of California sea lions. The Everett Parks Department operates a free shuttle boat from the marina to the island during the summer.
From downtown Everett head east on Everett Avenue. This becomes U.S. 2 at the interchange with Interstate 5. At the eastern edge of town the road bridges the Snohomish River, then speeds across the fertile farmlands of Ebey Island via an elevated causeway. A few spots on the island are near sea level and some of the lowest elevations in the state. During winter and spring Snohomish floodwaters occasionally inundate the island. Watch for the turn-off for state Route 204, which climbs from the river floodplain to a rolling, forested plateau dotted with lakes. Head north on state Route 9, then after a few miles watch for the junction with state Route 92. This road marks the beginning of the officially designated Mountain Loop.
Just to the south is the city of Lake Stevens, with a 2022 population of around 37,000. The city’s namesake body of water is the largest natural lake in Snohomish County, named in 1859 for Washington’s first territorial governor Isaac Ingalls Stevens. It started as a lumbering center, then became popular for its lakeside cabins and summer homes. There is a covered bridge, built in 1998, on Catherine Creek. The city is planning to build a new home for the Lake Stevens Historical Museum.
Highway 92 continues eastward through a landscape of mixed woodland with scattered farms to Granite Falls, population around 4,700. Known as the “Gateway to the Mountain Loop,” the town is at the edge of the Cascade foothills on the banks of the Pilchuck River. It was first settled in 1884, and named for a series of rapids on the nearby south fork of the Stillaguamish River. Granite Falls prospered as a lumbering center, and from 1892 as a station on the railway that connected Everett with the Silverton and Monte Cristo mining districts. The small Granite Falls Museum is worth a stop for its historical displays.
– Written by John King. Updated in August 2022. Top photo of Snohomish River by Seastock/Getty Images.