At the eastern reaches of Skagit County you will find the entrance to the North Cascades National Park. With over 1,000 square miles of mountain peaks, valleys, glaciers and wilderness, the North Cascades are Skagit County’s backdoor playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Travelling east of Concrete, the next town approximately 8.5 miles away is Rockport. This town is home to just over 100 full-time residents, but is host to thousands of campers and hikers during the summer months. The Howard Miller Steelhead Park includes a popular boat launch, actively used by fishermen and rafters alike. Rockport State Park is located on the north side of Highway 20 and includes 670 acres of ancient forest. 5,400 foot Sauk Mountain towers above Rockport and is accessible via a seven mile gravel road on the west side of town.
Another 8 miles east of Rockport is the town of Marblemount. Home to 250 residents, this town has a golden past serving as a trading post in the late 1800’s. During this time, there were approximately
1,500 gold prospectors in this region. The North Cascades National Park Wilderness Information Center is open from May through October and is the primary location to obtain backcountry permits. The center is located one mile north of Highway 20 on Ranger Station Road.
Newhalem & Diablo
Both small towns are actually in Whatcom County, but are only accessible via Skagit County during the winter months as Highway 20 is closed between Diablo and Mazama due to heavy snow. Company towns were built here to house the workers during the construction of the Gorge, Diablo, and Ross Lake Dams during a 50 year span beginning in 1918. Adjacent to the Newhalem Creek Campground is the North Cascades Visitor Center which features exhibits on the park’s natural beauty and cultural history. The center is open seven days a week between May and October. For an up close and personal look at the remote Skagit River Gorge between June and September, take the 2.5 hour Diablo Lake Adventure Tour. Seattle City Light has been offering tours of the dams and education on hydroelectric power since 1928. For more information, please visit www.seattle.gov/light/tours/skagit.