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On The Loop: Skagit Valley & Fidalgo Island

As you continue westward on Highway 20, the looming peaks of the North Cascades National Park give way to rolling hills, acres of farmland and a series of small communities including Birdsview, Hamilton and Lyman. Next, you’ll reach the town of Sedro-Woolley, known for its logging history which is visible via the downtown's collection of life-size wood carvings. The town is also known for its downtown shopping and dining scene — several new boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and breweries have opened within the past year! Consider camping in style (“glamping”) or more traditional accommodations at Willowbrook Manor, just outside of town. Guests enjoy luxe accommodations, gardens, fields of chamomile and the popular “tea and tour” program — hop on a cruiser and explore the area’s country roads! 

Visit Sedro-Woolley during Independence Day week and join locals at Loggerrodeo. Check out logging and chainsaw carving contests, the rodeo, bluegrass jubilee and fireworks.

The next community you’ll encounter is Burlington, located at the crossroads of Interstate 5 and Highway 20. It’s a great base from which to explore many recreational activities within easy driving distance. Visit during Berry Dairy Days in June, celebrating local berry harvests and dairies. There is also an exceptional Visitor Information Center in town, so pop in to get guidance from the locals and pick up some pointers on the many things to do nearby!

Take a quick jaunt south to the town of Mount Vernon. The historic community sits at the juncture of several rivers and sloughs, an irresistible attraction for an assortment of bird species — have those binoculars handy! The riverfront and adjacent downtown are ideal for exploring on foot and is featured on the National Register of Historic Places. Mount Vernon is also home to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which draws guests from around the world each spring!

Continue driving deeper into the Skagit River Valley, where the fields are dotted with quaint farmhouses and prolific heritage barns. The Skagit Valley is home to the largest commercial flower bulb industry outside of Holland. Beginning in March and continuing through May, the entire valley is one huge carpet of blooms, backdropped by dramatic views of 10,775-foot Mount Baker and the North Cascade mountains. La Conner is a friendly hamlet full of artists, fantastic architecture and adorable waterfront shops, all tucked within acres of fields between Mount Vernon and Anacortes, your final destination in this segment of the Cascade Loop. Be sure to visit the Museum of Northwest Art, the Skagit County Historical Museum, and the Gaches Mansion which is home to the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, one of just 12 in the U.S.

Anacortes is very much a maritime community — its historic downtown resides along the waterfront and is the heart of Fidalgo Island. Explore a wealth of funky shops and boutiques. The seafood here is outstanding, so be sure to dine out and order the fish! Build some extra time into your itinerary to take a whale-watching tour with Island Adventures, where excursions lead to sightings 95 percent of the time! Rent a kayak from Anacortes Kayak Tours and paddle through saltwater while taking in views of abundant sea and bird life!

Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island, is a bustling port town with a pedestrian-friendly downtown which hosts the Anacortes Arts Festival in August. Washington State ferries connect Anacortes with four of the San Juan Islands – Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, San Juan – and provide service to Sidney, B.C. near Victoria. If you have limited time, take a short and quick ferry ride to Guemes Island.  In Anacortes, enjoy lovely parks, beaches, community forestland, great gallery browsing and excellent antique shopping. Oh, and don’t forget to take a drive to incredibly scenic Mt. Erie and the Deception Pass bridge - on your way to the next region of the Loop -- Whidbey Scenic Isle Way!

Skagit Valley Visitor Services

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The Skagit River flood plain is some of the richest agricultural land in the Northwest. Coastal/Northern Straits Salish people fished, hunted and harvested shellfish and berries.

Local tribes initially traded pelts for supplies. By the 1820s non-native traders and trappers crossed the Cascades and settled, resulting in trade with the Hudson Bay Company, diminishing native trade routes. In 1855, the Point Elliot Treaty was signed and many of these tribes moved to the Swinomish Reservation on Fidalgo Island. In spite of challenges, native people maintain active communities throughout the area today. Look for new interpretive signs, covered pavilion and restrooms at the Kukutali Preserve in La Conner: http://lovelaconner.com/kiket-island-kukutali-preserve/

In 1791, Spaniard Juan Francisco de Eliza charted Rosario Strait, naming it Canal de Fidalgo. British Captain George Vancouver explored Rosario Strait in 1792 and named Deception Pass. Mining, timber and logging contributed greatly to the development of the area during this time. Agriculture has been the main industry for the Skagit Valley since the late 1800s. Today’s massive flower bulb industry began as an extension of the early flower production of Mary Brown Stewart who started growing tulips with bulbs from Holland in 1906. 

Skagit Valley Adventures
There is a LOT of wildlife to view here: snow geese, trumpeter and tundra swans, elk, eagles, falcons, ducks and owls to name a few.
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Whale Watching
Few things are as moving as witnessing whales up close and personal. Take a whale watching tour and have a pretty high likelihood of seeing gray, mink or orca whales, depending on the season.
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On the Water
Get on the water to get a really different perspective. Take a whale watching tour out of La Conner or Anacortes. Explore on kayak in Anacortes!
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Family Farms
Farms are wildly diverse here! Shellfish, blueberries, dairies, cattle ranches, cabbages, and of course flower bulbs!
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Historic Barn Tour
Explore 58 barns on the state Heritage Barn Register--amazing testaments to the past and today's farming culture.
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Nothing says community like a small town American festival. Visit Sedro-Woolley's
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Side Trip: La Conner
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Amazing Food
Because there are so many local sources of produce and shellfish, it's no surprise that the food is insanely fresh and amazingly delicious here.
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There is huge variety in the types of hiking here. Explore Washington Park or Mt. Erie in Anacortes, take a moderate walk around Baker Lake, or something steeper like Sauk Mountain
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EV Charging Stations
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Anacortes Marina at Dawn, Photo by Andy Porter
Skagit Wine & Beer Festival
Jingle Belles - A Ladies Night of Shopping
Christmas At The End Of The Road
Farm Lights Festival
Newly Opened Trail In Winthrop Washington - You will Want To See For Yourself
If you’re into mountain biking, we have some exciting news for you from Winthrop Washington! Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance | Methow Chapter has reaped the rewards of a ten-year permitting process to access the national forest around Sun Mountain Lodge for mountain bike trails. The pinnacle of the quarter-million-dollar project is the newly opened Thompson Ridge Trail. This is a single-track trail (not dirt road) which is intended to be ridden clockwise in about three to six hours depending on the cyclist. There really isn’t anything like it in the… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Varied Thrush
"The Varied Thrush is a gorgeous bird with a simple single note for a song. It is closely related to the American Robin and other thrushes who are considered amazing songsters. Bird sightings and behaviors are often major seasonal cues for me, and I tend to think of the Varied Thrush as a "winter" bird in our neck of the woods because they move up in elevation to the mountains during the summer and back down to our yards and feeders from now through early spring. Winter must be nearly… Read More >>>>
Winthrop Ice Rink is open for winter!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gliding across glistening ice on a pair of skates. Add a stunning outdoor setting, complete with towering mountains and bald eagles soaring overhead, and you’ve got the Winthrop Rink. Nestled in the Methow Valley, the Winthrop Rink offers a range of programs for all ages and abilities, from Open Skate sessions, to drop-in hockey, to freestyle figure skating, to Learn to Skate, to hockey tournaments. Read More >>>>
Click the Boxes Below to Build Your Personalized Itinerary
+ Destinations
      Lake Chelan Valley
      Leavenworth Cascade Foothills
      Methow Valley
      North Cascades
      Seattle Northcountry
      Skagit Valley & Fidalgo Island
      Stevens Pass Greenway
      Wenatchee Columbia River Valley
      Whidbey Scenic Isle Way
+ Accommodations
     Bed & Breakfasts / Country Inns
     Camping & Glamping
     Farm Stay
     Hotels & Motels
     Large Group Venues
     Lodges & Resorts
     Pet Friendly
+ Dining & Wineries
     Beer, Breweries & Distilleries
      + Farms Stands
      + Wineries & Vineyards
+ Indoor Activities
     Art Galleries & Studios
     Performing Arts
      + Shopping
+ The Great Outdoors
     Aerial Adventures
     Boat Tours
     Farms & Barns
     Fishing & Hunting
     Gardens & Outdoor Art
     Gear Rentals
     Horseback Riding
     National Parks, Forests & Recreation Areas
     Pet Friendly Activities
     Photo Tours & Lessons
     Scenic View Points
     State & Local Parks
     Water Activities
     White Water
     Wildlife Viewing
      + Winter Fun
+ Visitor Info/Services
     National Forest Ranger Stations
     Scenic Byways along the Loop
     Traveler Services: Gas, Snacks, Auto Repair
      + Visitor Centers, Tourism Bureaus, Chambers
     Washington State Resources
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