In the shadow of Sauk Mountain lies a jewel in our state park system: Rockport State Park. Often overlooked by those driving the Mountain Loop Highway, this 632-acre park is home to some of the most ancient old-growth forests in the area, with trees up to 250 feet tall.
It is only 1 mile off the more well-traveled Highway 530, and only a little over 1 1/2 hours from Bellevue — but it feels like another world.
Rockport State Park has a variety of trails, ranging from level old logging roads, to a strenuous trek up Sauk Mountain, as well as interpretive displays, a lovely picnic shelter, and ample opportunities to view wildlife and birds.
One of the most popular trails is the 3-mile-long Evergreen Trail, which crosses several lovely wooden bridges over gently flowing creeks. It’s a cool respite from warm days as you walk beneath a lush forest canopy. The half-mile Fern Creek Trail passes underneath some of the largest trees in the area. The West Loop Interpretive Trail, which connects to the Evergreen trail from the parking lot, provides 1-mile of ADA-accessible hiking for people of all abilities and an opportunity to learn more about the area.
An 8-mile drive up a gravel road will take those looking for a more physically challenging adventure to the Sauk Mountain Trail. This steep and narrow 4.2-mile, round-trip hike climbs 1,200 feet to the summit of Sauk Mountain, at 5,500 feet of elevation, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Skagit Valley and other Cascade peaks. Look carefully, and you may discover the remnants of an old fire lookout.
Across the highway are two more short trails: the Sauk Spring Trail and the Skagit View Trail, which provides a lovely view of the Skagit River valley, complete with a picnic table and an up-close-and-personal encounter with a massive and ancient cedar tree. You’ll want to bring lunch and a camera.
The park hosts various events and guided walks throughout the year. The Discovery Center features special programs from December through February, such as the “Deep Forest Experience,” with displays and family friendly activities that include creating a craft to take home. Make sure to mark your calendar.
When you’re done with your hike(s), head into the town of Concrete. Often missed by those driving the Mountain Loop Highway, Concrete is home to friendly service and homestyle cooking at the Lone Star Restaurant, or try the pizza at Annie’s Pizza Station. For the art lovers, Sauk Mountain Pottery showcases locally made functional art. A short side trip off of the Mountain Loop Highway will open up a new world of discovery and adventure.
Good to Know
Green Trails Darrington No. 78
Dogs are allowed and must be on a leash. Camping is available at nearby Rasar State Park.
How to get there:
From Bellevue, take I-5 N, 66.6 miles to exit 232. Proceed 28.6 miles to Rockport State Park.