One of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful rivers, the Skagit runs from high up in the Cascade Mountains and empties out into Puget Sound. Its floodplain is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world and supports countless animal species, including iconic ones such as salmon. This region also supports local communities with farming, fishing, logging, food tourism and recreational opportunities

You will find tideflats, estuaries and farm fields attracting many shorebirds on their great migrations (including the Wrangel Island snow geese and trumpeter swans) and several species of salmon as well. The Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area preserves more than 9,000 acres of bald eagle habitat, with hundreds of eagles congregating here in the wintertime to feed on the returning salmon.

Visit the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center to learn more about wildlife viewing tips and viewing sites. To learn more about the annual Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival and Interpretive Center, click here.

The Conservancy’s work here supports clean water, viable family farms, healthy shellfish and salmon and conserves and restores vital habitats for raptors and shorebirds, providing a perfect setting for birdwatchers!

Some gems of this region include:

Old Sauk River Trail 

  • Walk alongside the Skagit’s largest tributary, the Sauk River, and view the dynamic processes first hand. The trail is 3 miles one way, with minimal elevation gain.

Rockport State Park 

  • Hike in a 670-acre old growth mostly level forest grove, alongside the Skagit River with a chance to see dozens of bird species, deer, bear and other animals that live here.

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

  • Located in the Skagit delta, this reserve protects 11,000 acres of the Padilla estuary and includes near-shore and upland habitats including mudflats supporting 8,000 acres of eelgrass meadows. Padilla Bay provides habitat for millions of invertebrates and is a nursery for salmon, crab and herring. There is a 2.25 mile interpretive trail that follows the shore and a 0.8 mile trail into the near-shore meadows and forests.

Skagit Wildlife area

  • This area protects 13,000 acres of tidelands and intertidal marshes and is a great place for birdwatching! This area supports approximately 180 bird species and is an important wintering region for waterfowl and shorebirds. Black-tailed deer, raccoons and coyotes also inhabit this area.

For more information on these locations and directions, please click here.


Written by Noelle van deer Straaten, Volunteer.