Anybody who has visited Skagit County knows that it’s an absolutely phenomenal place. The scenery and views are made up of the Cascade Mountains which overlook a stunning valley divided by the Skagit River.
Tulip fields blanket the valley in Spring and have come to be famous throughout the world. In the winter, Skagit County is home to many Canada geese, snow geese, and swans. Bald eagles and great blue herons are around for the entire year.
Aside from the birdlife, the nature that Skagit County boasts is really worth the trip – and there’s no better way to see it than by visiting one of the many beautiful parks. Check out these top five Skagit County parks on your next visit!
1. Hope Island State Park
The perfect island adventure, Hope Island Park is perfect for anybody seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Not only is it uninhabited, it is only accessible by boat, giving you the chance to experience pristine nature at its best.
Set in 181 acres, Hope Island marine park features six primitive campsites which can accommodate up to eight people each, beautiful beaches, and a trail meandering across the island. Note: visitors are asked to stay on the trail and in designated campsites preserving the untouched Natural Reserve Area.
In addition to hiking and camping, there are many other activities you can do to keep entertained. Fishing, clamming kayaking, and bird watching are just some of the favorites.
2. Samish Island Park
Situated on an island which connects to the mainland via a dike, Samish Island Park is one of the hidden gems of Skagit County parks. It allows daytime visitors yet another opportunity to enjoy the picturesque beauty of the area.
Located north of Highway 20 and west of Chuckanut Drive, the island is home to world famous oyster farming operations. Sea life abounds in the waters surrounding the island such as seasonal dungeness crab, Chinook salmon, clams, and oysters.
An ideal location for licensed fishing during the season, also expect to catch sight of some of the seals that visit. Native eelgrass is a great habitat for many specimens. Birdlife is also abundant on Samish Island; the hawk and eagle populations are especially exciting to see.
The Samish Island playground and tennis court is a great place to go to if you have kids, and the island provides lots of opportunities for walking and cycling. If you are looking for a location for your next community or corporate retreat, the island holds two camps – Camp Kirby, and Camp Samish.
3. Bowman Bay Park
Sandy beaches with special, sheltered picnic sites make the perfect combination for those of you who find yourselves at Bowman Bay Park. Just outside Skagit County, Bowman Bay is the perfect place to start adventuring through Deception Pass.
Also known as Reservation Bay, Bowman Bay was originally a military site. To the south of the bay lies a small playground – great for the kids. Now a large open field, a salmon hatchery from the days of the Great Depression once occupied the grounds.
The area boasts some great hikes to Lottie Bay, Lighthouse Point, and Rosario Beach. The best part is that they’re short, and they offer fantastic views of the surrounding area and the San Juan Islands.
4. Northern State Recreational Area
Looking for an easy yet rewarding adventure? Northern State Recreation Area is the place for you! The trails don’t elevate much, so you don’t need to worry about a strenuous hike if you have kids or elderly company. There are also some lovely picnic sites, and frisbee golf!
Many people know the area for the abandoned buildings on it, such as the Northern State Mental Hospital. You’re not allowed to enter the buildings, but many of them are crumbling at the sides – so it isn’t hard to take a peek. Some even say the area is haunted, but don’t let that deter you – it’s a stunning area.
5. Rockport State Park
The rare old-growth forests of Rockport State Park are stunning companions for hikers and other visitors. The trees found here have never been subject to development of any kind – and stand tall and proud.
Look up and you will see the incredible canopy of tree branches, which are dense and magically shade the forest. Some of the trees are over 250 feet tall! Under foot, trails are covered with fallen cones, leaves, and surrounded by lush vegetation.
Overnight camping is not allowed at Rockport State Park, but visitors can take some beautiful hikes – namely the Sauk Springs and the Skagit View trails. If overnight camping is what you’re looking for, sites are available close by at Rasar State Park. Rasar State Park is wheelchair friendly, and a great place to take kids to bike.
Check out the interactive map by clicking on the pins: