Winter Migration of Bald Eagles - Skagit Eagle Festival - Visit Skagit Valley - North Cascades National Park to Farmlands to Salish Sea

Winter Migration of Bald Eagles – Skagit Eagle Festival

Skagit Eagle Festival is a month-long celebration during the eagle-watching season in eastern Skagit County. Activities take place in Concrete, Rockport, and Marblemount in January.

Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center

The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center at Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport, WA, offers opportunities to better understand the Skagit River ecosystem with an emphasis on the winter migration of bald eagles and salmon and the vital role each play in our environment. Learn about eagles, watershed issues, and local, natural, and cultural history.  Open every Saturday and Sunday in January: 10 am-4 pm.

Guided Nature Walks

Each weekend in January, experience 1.5-hour Guided Nature Hikes along the scenic Skagit River.  Walks will take place each Winter and over the Holiday break. Walk departs from the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center headquarters in Howard Miller County Park in Rockport at 11 AM and 1:30 PM from mid-December to mid-February.  The walks last from 1.5 to 2 hours and travel along a flat. well-maintained trail. The trail leads into the rainforest, crosses a bridge over a wetland, and ends along the Skagit River. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. There will likely be snow on the trail!

skagit bald eagles

Skagit River Eagle Viewing & Photography Tours

Skagit River eagle viewing and photography tours are available (reservations required). Experience a premier tour in drift boats with high-backed cushioned seats with Skagit River Eagle Tours.

Skagit Eagle Festival Contact Information

Information Station: Skagit Eagle Festival
Concrete Chamber Office – 45770A Main Street, Concrete (next door to the Library)
Every Saturday in January 2020: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(360) 853-8784

Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center
Howard Miller Steelhead Park – 52809 Rockport Park Rd, Rockport
Every Saturday & Sunday in January: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(360) 853-7626

Skagit River Eagle Tours

Skagit River Eagle Tours
60076 State Route 20
Marblemount, WA 98267
Experience a premier 3-hour in their heated drift boats with high-backed cushioned seats. Reservations required.

Eagle Viewing

To see eagles up close, use a telescope, binoculars, or a telephoto lens. Keep noise low and your movements slow. Whenever possible, please stay in your car and use it as a blind from which to photograph the eagles. Stay away from the river’s edge and gravel bars where eagles are feeding, especially between 5 and 11 a.m. Most of the river frontage is privately owned. Use public areas along the river and be courteous to local landowners. Do not walk across private property.

Driving Tips

Adjust speed according to traffic and weather. Watch for pedestrians: people often cross the roadways during the eagle-watching season. Carry winter emergency equipment: blanket, flashlight, jumper cables, snow shovel, additional winter clothing, and abrasive material (e.g., cat litter, sand). Be aware that cell phone reception can be unreliable in eastern Skagit County.

We look forward to welcoming you to Concrete, Rockport, and Marblemount. For more information about the Skagit Eagle Festival, please get in touch with the Concrete Chamber of Commerce Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Call: (360) 853-8784

Arrival of the Messenger; Past – Present – Future Poster by Ramon Shiloh

Our environment shifts rapidly to mold itself against the ever present impacts of humanity.
These Eagles represent the ferocity of rebuttal against these punishing days.
The expression channeled and forced itself into the world as messengers.
Screaming for their survival, to be heard, as they predict the outcomes of our hubris.
As the fish dwindle and Eagles fly elsewhere – these signs mean food shortages for all.
Take heed of their warnings. Take responsibility for existence. Build for our futures. ~Ramon Shiloh

Where to See Eagles

Eagles feed along the river in the early morning. On cloudy, rainy days, in the late morning and early afternoon, eagles roost along the river. On sunny days, they tend to soar over the valley.

Four places to begin your eagle-watching adventure are:

The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center
Located in Rockport, WA in Howard Miller Steelhead Park, open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. We lead guided nature walks to eagle-watching sites along the Skagit River at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays (see our schedule). The Center features a Nature Store, Children’s Corner, informational videos, a replica eagle’s nest, and directions to the Eagle Watcher sites. Stop at the Interpretive Center and find out exactly where to go during your visit to see bald eagles on the Skagit River.

Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport
Located near the Interpretive Center, the park is accessible from Alfred Street in Rockport, or from State Route 530, near the bridge over the Skagit River. The Eagle Watcher staff is set up in the park near the bridge. The best vantage point is from the bridge, looking upstream to gravel bars, and the trees along the river. Please, use the sidewalk on the bridge to stay out of the road. The Park has interpretive displays, flush toilets, a boat ramp, water, tent and RV camping with hookups, and a waste removal site for RV’s. Hiking trails at the west end of the camping areas lead to more riverside viewing sites.

Milepost 100 Rest Area, at Sutter Creek on State Route 20
The Skagit River runs directly next to this popular site affording the visitor a great view of feeding areas on the gravel bars on the south side of the river. The site offers plenty of parking, picnic tables, a boat launch, and interpretive displays. The forests on the mountainside are a prime eagle night-roosting site.

Bald Eagle Natural Area on Martin Road
A State Fish and Wildlife viewing site on Martin Road, off SR 530, just south of the Skagit River bridge. The sun will be behind you. Consider helping support the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) programs by purchasing a “Watchable Wildlife” decal.

These locations have trash cans, restroom facilities, ample parking, great staff, and great views of eagles!

Other locations worth visiting in the upper Skagit Valley:

Washington Eddy, Rockport (Milepost 99, SR 20)
Trees and vegetation have grown to obscure river viewing at this site. Eagle Watcher volunteers no longer staff it, and the interpretive displays have been removed. It remains a great bird-watching area and features a large beaver lodge.

The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center in Newhalem 
(The visitor center is closed in the winter). To visit the North Cascades Visitor Center, continue on Highway 20, past Marblemount, for about 16 miles to Newhalem (use caution as icy conditions are more common north of Marblemount). The Visitor Center has interpretive exhibits on the formation of the North Cascade mountain range and Skagit Valley, native plants, and hands-on exhibits for children. Check out the Park film, slideshow, bookstore, and souvenir shop. There are miles of easy and accessible trails near the Visitor Center that will take you through old-growth forests and close to the Skagit River, Bald Eagles, and spawned-out Salmon. A 300-foot walk from the Visitor Center leads to an incredible view of the mighty Pickett Range.

While in Newhalem, it is worthwhile to visit Gorge Powerhouse. Walk out on the suspension bridge over the Skagit River, and you will likely see hundreds of salmon swimming around, wondering why they can go no further. Above the powerhouse, the entire Skagit River flows through a tunnel from the Gorge Dam several miles upstream. Continue across the bridge to begin a short but delightful walk to the roaring waterfall on Ladder Creek.


Skagit Wildlife Area (Skagit Flats): The area where the Skagit River flows into the Salish Sea, along Fir Island and Conway, is another good spot. The bonus is you can see thousands of snow geese.

Bay View State Park (Padilla Bay)

Deception Pass State Park

Washington Park (Anacortes)