5 Locations to Take Great Photos in Skagit County

Skagit Photo Opportunities Samish Overlook
A drive to the Samish Overlook provides an awesome view of Skagit County's fertile farmland and beyond. Photo credit: Matt Benoit

From the lofty tops of mountains to the shimmering waters of the sea, Skagit County has a range of landscapes sure to please the eye of any photographer, professional or amateur. The next time you get the itch to be a shutterbug, consider these 5 locations to take great photos in Skagit County.

#1 – Samish Point Overlook and Oyster Dome

A favorite hiking spot for both locals and visitors, the Oyster Dome is a rocky outcropping on top of Blanchard Mountain. From its 2,025-foot-tall elevation, you can glimpse stunning views of Chuckanut Bay and the San Juan Islands, as well as Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, and beyond.

Skagit Photo Opportunities Oyster Dome
The view from the top of the Oyster Dome is a panoramic postcard of the San Juan Islands. Photo credit: Matt Benoit

Departing from Chuckanut Drive is a 6.5-mile round-trip hike with plenty of elevation gain, but a slightly shorter, easier hike to the dome comes with its own spectacular view of Skagit County. From Interstate 5, take Exit 240 and follow Barrel Springs Road until you turn onto a dirt road (very rough in places) that takes you to the paved parking lot of Samish Point Overlook. From here, you can access the Pacific Northwest Trail and connect with the Oyster Dome trail, shaving off a bit of elevation and mileage from the Chuckanut route.

The parking lot (which requires a Discover Pass) features a panoramic vista of Skagit County’s fertile farmlands, with additional views of Fidalgo and Whidbey islands. And on a day with perfect visibility, Mount Rainier can even be seen, looming large over the horizon.

#2 – Bird and Wildlife Watching Along the Skagit River

The North Cascades Highway, running through Skagit County on its way into North Cascades National Park, provides ample opportunity to glimpse and photograph the area’s bountiful wildlife.

Directly off the highway and three miles west of Concrete, Hurn Field is an excellent place to watch elk graze. At times of peak activity, usually in winter or spring, dozens of the magnificent mammals can be seen. Bring your telephoto or zoom lens to capture the elk “up close.”

Skagit Photo Opportunities Bald Eagle Skagit River
Wildlife abounds along the Skagit River, providing chances to glimpse roosting bald eagles. Photo credit: Matt Benoit

Other popular wildlife spots are along the Skagit River, which also intersects the North Cascades Highway at multiple points. Whether you’re sitting on the river bank, or floating by in a raft, certain months of the year provide great opportunity to glimpse bald eagles roosting or foraging for fish.

And for extra cuteness, make a stop at the grassy area behind The Eatery at Glacier Peak Resort near Marblemount. There, dozens of rabbits can usually be found hopping about. They’re not hard to get pictures of and make for cute Instagram-worthy photos of Skagit County wildlife.

#3 – Rainy Pass Area, North Cascades National Park

Although the aforementioned North Cascades Highway runs through the heart of the Skagit Valley, only a small portion of the highway’s national park route lies within Skagit County. The section that does, however, is worth a look through a camera lens.

Skagit Photo Opportunities Rainy Pass Peak
The Skagit County area west of Rainy Pass offers spectacular mountain views, whether glimpsed from the highway or experienced from a nearby trail. Photo credit: Matt Benoit

The area just west of Rainy Pass, some 4,875 feet above sea level, is full of tall trees and marvelous mountain peaks. For stunning views of Skagit County’s portion of the North Cascades, check out Easy Pass, an inaccurately-named 7-mile roundtrip hike that provides postcard-worthy images in every season. There are glaciers, wildflowers, and much more. Who knows? You might even see a mountain goat.

#4 – Flower Fields Galore

During late winter and early spring, Skagit County is world-famous for its tulip and daffodil fields, covering the valley’s farmland in vibrant pockets of red, purple, yellow and other magnificent colors. If you’re into landscape or plant-based photography, seeing these blooms in full glory is something you must experience for yourself.

Skagit Photo Opportunities Tulip Fields
Skagit County is world-renowned for its Tulip Festival each April, offering vibrant flower power for your camera lens. Photo credit: Matt Benoit

#5 – Waterfront Views from Fidalgo Island

Fidalgo Island is full of photo-worthy sites. Whether you’re visiting the Anacortes waterfront to take in the sand and surf, or remarking at the beauty of Mount Baker to the east, there is always beauty to capture through your lens.

Fidalgo Island is also home to a number of lakes, including Lake Eerie, Lake Campbell, and Pass Lake, which are good for both fishing and hiking. You can also climb Mount Eerie, providing beautiful vistas of the surrounding area. Near Deception Pass, Rosario Beach offers great views of the Deception Pass bridge, and tide pools to photograph sea life. And of course, the iconic view from the bridge area can’t be beat.

With these and numerous other photo opportunities in Skagit County, there’s no reason you can’t fill up your memory card with plenty of beautiful images. Happy snapping!

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