Snow and ice stopped us from doing this last year, so let's schedule it again and hopefully go.
December and January are prime Eagle watching time along the Skagit river. Usually in January, Concrete Wa hosts the Skagit Valley Eagle Festival. Let's go a little earlier.
Walk along the Cascade Trail starting in Lyman, WA where the trail follows the Skagit for a ways. We will walk 3-4 miles out before returning to our cars. We can then head into Concrete for lunch and see if we can view the eagles from the bridge there.
If you are familiar with this area, any suggestions are welcome.
Cascade Trail Location: Sedro-Woolley to Concrete, Skagit County. Length: Over 22 miles Level of difficulty: Wide, level-to-gentle gravel trail.
Location: Sedro-Woolley to Concrete, Skagit County. Length: Over 22 miles
Level of difficulty: Wide, level-to-gentle gravel trail.
Setting: This converted BNSF Railway railbed closely parallels Highway 20 and the Skagit River. The western portion of the trail runs south of the highway through an open forest of alders, with views of farmland and grassy meadows and the Cascades.
Near Lyman and Hamilton, the trail travels through more thickly forested land and, at times, passes right by the meandering Skagit River (good place to look for eagles).
Just east of Hamilton, around the 12-mile mark, the trail crosses to the north side of Highway 20, where it eventually gently climbs a forested slope above the river and ends in Concrete by the senior center. Near Mile 18, look for the old telegraph pole from the late 1800s near the dark gray (slate) cut in the hillside.
Highlights: Detailed, printable maps on the trail's Web site (see below) offer information and photos along each section. There are three areas on the trail that involve slight detours.
About five miles east along the trail (near Minkler Road), there's a section where Wiseman Creek now follows the trailbed; the side trail built to compensate is muddy for a few hundred yards but is passable. Near Mile 11 (near Hamilton) and 16 (near Baker Lake Road), there's a detour onto nearby roads because trestle bridges over streams are washed out.
Facilities: Portable toilets and parking at the three trailheads.
Restrictions: Leash law in effect. The trail is used by walkers, runners, cyclists and equestrians.
Directions: From Interstate 5 in Burlington, take Exit 230 and head east on Highway 20 to Sedro-Woolley. The westernmost trailhead is on the east side of town on the south side of Highway 20 at the junction with Fruitdale Road; a second trailhead is on the north side of the highway at the junction of Highway 20 and Baker Lake Road; and a third trailhead is at the senior center in Concrete at the end of Railroad Street.