I like to take motorcycle rides to overlooks. They serve as a great place to rest after a ride and a chance to look back at the roads you’ve traveled. The overlook from Mount Erie offers one of the best views in all of Western Washington and as such, remains one of my favorite overlooks in all of the Puget Sound.
The road to the area isn’t all that challenging or exciting, plus life on the islands goes a little slower. You just have to embrace it. You’ll want to tie the trip to Mount Erie into a longer Whidbey Island day, meaning perhaps you stop at Fort Casey State Park and Deception Pass on the way.
Once at Erie, the road up is a lot of fun, but be aware that it is a single lane to the top and it is shared with cars, trucks, and bicyclists. Proceed with caution around those blind switchbacks.
The view at the top is astounding. A short walk among the trees delivers you to this beautiful perch 1,273 ft above the Sound. From here, witness the San Juan Islands laid out before you, the Olympics range to your right, the Cascade range to your left. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see not only Mount Baker but Mount Rainier 117 miles away.
Love locks even make an appearance up here. I assume lovers are tossing their keys over the cliff instead of into the water like many more famous places.
Mount Erie is popular with climbers. The mountain has many rock walls that fill with climbers year-round. The rain shadow that the Olympic range provides keep the mountain fairly dry and I hear each rock wall is usually bathed in sunlight, which keeps makes it a good temperature to climb on normally cold days. You might see a few of them milling around the summit, as we did.
I just hope none of them get hit in the face with flying padlock keys from these love locks.
What to know
Mount Erie is about a 1.5 hours’ drive from Seattle. I advise you to take your sweet time and explore Whidbey Island on the way. There used to be basic pit toilets at the top, but a reader informs us they have been removed. But you’re not far from civilization should you require a throne.
The hike from the parking lot to the viewpoint is short – no need to prepare for that. There are trails on the mountain, should you rather walk to the top than drive.
Update if no one has already there are no longer any style of bathroom at the top anymore