Skagit County – The Mountains, The Valley and The Coast
The name of our county – Skagit (pronounced ska-dj-ut) – comes from Lushootseed Salish, the indigenous language of Puget Sound and the Skagit Valley, and the oldest known source of stories spoken from this place. Skagit is also the name of the First People who lived in longhouses along the shores of Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, directly across from the mouth of the Skagit River. This is where in the 1850s the first American pioneers built their log cabins at what is now known as Ebey’s Prairie. The first American settlers took the name of the first people who lived at Penn Cove, Skagit, and gave it to the nearby bay, river, valley, and county. Lushootseed Skagit means “to hide away”.
We invite you to “hide away” and experience our local nooks and strong communities from the Cascade Mountains to the Salish Sea.
The North Cascades are named after the abundant waterfalls that lace the mountains. Ross Lake National Recreation Area, along State Route 20, is where most visitors center the park complex. The Skagit River, and three major reservoirs (Gorge, Diablo and Ross Lakes) offer ample recreation and sightseeing. Points of interest include visitor centers, viewpoints, short trails, campgrounds, and the Stephen Mather Wilderness. A new Environmental Learning Center is located on the shores of Diablo Lake.
North Cascades Institute offers a variety of hands-on programs, including Mountain School, a residential program for elementary, junior and high-school students from various school districts in western Washington. Other programs include summer youth adventures, family getaways, adult seminars, and retreats, graduate studies and volunteer stewardship opportunities.
The North Cascades Area offers a full range of moutain experiences… Hiking, Climbing, Guided Tours, Boating & Fishing, Bird & Wildlife Viewing, Horseback Riding, Bicycling and Educational Wilderness Programs to name a few!
Did you know? The Cascade Range supports over 300 species of wild life. Take a hike on the Wild Side! Skagit Valley is the North Cascades Gateway, and the perfect place to start and end your adventure.
The Skagit Maritime Valley has over 93,000 acres of active farmland. The Skagit River comprises the third largest watershed on the west coast of the continental United States with a delta graced by working farms and wildlife refuges. The Skagit Flats is one of the most popular areas for birding in Washington State.
The Valley’s culture is rich in farming, fishing, nature, and art. Culture is a word that comes out of cultivation, turning the soil over… turning and returning. Experience the culture and beauty of one of the last authentic open space farming valley’s in Washington State and the West Coast.
The Skagit Coast shorelines, bays, and islands are famous for their wildlife and views. The shorelines of Skagit County are the subject of intense research and effort as scientists seek to protect their rich diversity of life forms, from over 600 Great Blue Heron Nests to the five runs of Skagit salmon, the shellfish beds in Samish Bay and much more. Padilla Bay is one of only 27 National Estuarine Research Reserves in the United States.
The Islands of Skagit County include Fidalgo, Guemes, Cypress, Sinclair, Hat, Saddlebag, Cone, and Jack along with many smaller islands. Fidalgo Island is connected to the mainland by two bridges including La Conner’s famous “Golden Gate” Rainbow Bridge. Another famous bridge connects Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island over Deception Pass. Fidalgo Island is home to the Washington State Ferry Terminal serving the San Juan Islands and Sydney/Victoria, British Columbia.