Opt Outside: Easy, Year-Round Trails in Skagit County

Despite being known for overcast skies and heavy rain, Washington is also known for its beautiful trails and outdoorsy citizens. Skagit County is no different with residents opting for outdoor activities year-round regardless of weather. With flat, well-maintained trail systems that are accessible to all skill levels, here are some Skagit County trails that will keep you enjoying the outdoors through all seasons.

Padilla Bay Trail

11405 Bayview Edison Road, Mount Vernon

Located in the Bayview area, the Padilla Bay trail meanders along where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea. The trail divides farmland from the bay with crumbling old buildings, wild roses and a variety of bird sightings that add visual interest to the trail. There are benches dotted along the trail for anyone needing a break or wanting to stop and enjoy the view. The trail is a little over two miles in length and is accessible at either end.

The Padilla Bay trail cuts through the Skagit Delta where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea. High-tide floods the canals but low-tide reveals the mudflats. Photo credit: Britt Dussault

Guemes Channel and Ship Harbor

Edwards Way, Anacortes

Located on the North side of Fidalgo Island, the Guemes Channel Trail shares space with the Ship Harbor Interpretative Preserve near the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. Combining the two trails offers a roundtrip of three miles with the eastbound portion paved and the westbound portion a combination of gravel, boardwalk and sandy beach access. The Guemes Channel Trail hugs the forested edge of the island while the Ship Harbor Interpretive Preserve meanders through forest and wetland. Both trails offer beautiful views of the ferries and wildlife that utilize the Guemes Channel.

Rasar State Park

38730 Cape Horn Road, Concrete

Rasar State Park has a variety of trails that connect second-growth forest to sandy river shores and then back to grassy meadows. String the Skagit Woods Trail, Skagit River Trail, and Field Trail for a looping, three mile walk that will provide you the best views Rasar State Park has to offer. On clear days, Sauk Mountain can be viewed from the Field Trail and an ADA accessible trail leads to the river. There is an entry fee for Rasar State Park unless you have a Discover Pass.

Rasar State Park is a second-growth forest with interconnected trails that allow you to customize the length and scenery of your walk. Photo credit: Britt Dussault

Port of Skagit Trails

15384-15398 Ovenell Road, Mount Vernon

Out by the Skagit Regional Airport is the Port of Skagit Trails, 10 miles of trail that loops and intersects through farmland and wetland. A small section of trail just off the parking lot on Ovenell Road is known as the Burlington Story Trail. This guided walk through a wetland was designed for children and has colorful, informative placards along the trail. A man-made drainage system keeps the trails user-friendly no matter the weather.

The Burlington Story trail has interactive placards designed to educate children about the wetland the trail encircles. Photo credit: Britt Dussault

Tommy Thompson Trail

11th Street, Anacortes

Beginning near the Port of Anacortes at 11th Street and Q Avenue, the Tommy Thompson Trail works its way up along R Avenue before detouring towards the water and stretching across Fidalgo Bay via an old train trestle. It’s over six miles roundtrip with most of the trail paved except for the wooden trestle. The trail is ADA accessible and is also a popular route for walkers or bicyclists traveling between the March’s Point Park and Ride and Anacortes proper.

Cascade Trail

North Cascade Highway and Fruitdale Road, Sedro-Woolley

This 22-mile, one-way trail connects the towns of Sedro-Woolley and Concrete. Cutting through farmland and weaving its way between road and river, the Cascade Trail is reminiscent of a stroll down a long country lane. Enjoy the foliage in autumn, snowfall in winter, and be sure to bring water and sunscreen in warmer months as some sections are in full sun. With several access points along the way, you’re able to customize the length of your walk.

The Cascade Trail runs twenty-two miles along the Skagit River and North Cascades Highway and connects the towns of Sedro-Woolley and Concrete. Photo credit: Britt Dussault

Northern State Recreation Area

25625 Helmick Road, Sedro-Woolley

Just up the road from one of the Cascade Trail trailheads is the Northern State Recreation Area, also known as the Northern State Ghost Town. The name sounds spooky, but there are no ghosts on this trail. Located near the site of the old Northern State Hospital, which closed in the late 1970s, the area is now utilized as a recreation area. A few abandoned buildings that once made up the hospital’s self-sustaining farming past still remain and are viewable from the trails that wind through pastures and forest.

At the Northern State Recreation Area, decaying buildings that were once part of the Northern State Hospital look down on a network of trails and fields where people can walk their dogs or play disc golf. Photo credit: Britt Dussault

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