While some of Skagit County’s various trails require substantial drives or human-powered effort just to reach, there’s no shortage of nearby and easy day trails on which to walk, run, or bike. Among the more easily accessible options are more than 10 miles of nature trails on land owned by the Port of Skagit, off Highway 20 between Anacortes and Burlington. These trails wind through woods and wetlands located around the Skagit Regional Airport and Bayview Business Park.
The Skagit Nature Trail Loop is a good option if you’re looking to get in a shorter but solid jaunt that provides both natural and man-made sights. The 2.1-mile loop begins at the parking lot at 15337 Ovenell Road, at the intersection of Ovenell and Higgins Airport Way. Porta-potties are present for any bathroom needs.
From the trailhead, you can head either west or north. Going west puts you on a trail running parallel to Ovenell, and features several turns for shorter loops, as well as continuing straight ahead for even more trail options.
One of the shorter options is the Story Board Trail, a 0.4-mile route featuring plaques that tell a children’s nature book story. The fun, artistic plaques are courtesy of a partnership between Burlington’s Public Library and Rotary Club.
After about half a mile parallel to Ovenell is a wheelchair-accessible parking lot. Here, turn right and head north towards Skagit Regional Airport.
Alternatively, you can head directly north from the parking lot on a 0.6-mile mirror of Airport Higgins Way. The northward trail forks in two directions from there, and a left turn will take you on a 1.1-mile trek running parallel to Crosswind Drive. Here, you’ll pass by a single-engine propeller aircraft on static display, welcoming you to the airport. This route also takes you past the Heritage Flight Museum, which is open Thursdays through Saturdays. The museum features several historic aircraft on display and plenty of information sure to grab the attention of any aviation buff.
Continuing straight will eventually take you into the business park, full of local businesses. If you’re feeling inclined, you can also engage in a short brewery tasting tour via several of these little trails: Garden Path Fermentation, Chuckanut Brewery, and SVC Cardinal Craft Brewing Academy all have plenty of tasty suds on-tap.
The entire trail system is well-maintained, and features easily-navigable gravel surfaces. The 2.1-mile Skagit Nature Loop contains just 62 feet of total elevation gain, and is both stroller and wheelchair-friendly. Flowers, mushrooms, salmonberries and blackberries can be seen growing at different times of year along the trail, and wildlife includes sightings of hummingbirds, rabbits, owls and other woodland creatures.
Whatever route you take, remember that the trails are open from dawn to dusk. Horsepower of both equine and mechanical manner are prohibited, and dogs are required to be on a leash.
Though it should go without saying, let’s say it anyway: no firearm discharges, camping, fires, fireworks, barbeques or alcohol are allowed on the trails. Respect the local businesses along the trails, don’t litter, clean up after your pets, and consider leaving valuables out of view if left in your vehicle.
From Highway 20, turn north on Farm to Market Road and continue until reaching Ovenell Road. Make a right and continue onto the parking lots.