Information about this hike provided in partnership with Mountaineers Books.
Copyright © Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books
Leave the hubbub of the visitors center for the peaceful allure of forest. On a wide and well-tended path, begin a slow descent of 75 feet or so to a nearly level bottomland flush with cedars, firs, ferns, and salal. In 0.25 mile pass a side trail leading to one of the Newhalem Creek Campground's attractive loops.
If you pass by in summer, the air will be filled with the sounds of joyous campers banging tent stakes, rattling tin pans, and chopping firewood. If you're here during winter, the soothing sounds of water take over, from the Skagit's distant roar to a procession of raindrops dripping on leathery and decaying leaves.
Soon reach a major junction. Right heads to the campground, and you'll be returning from straight ahead. Head left on the straight path, cutting through a pine barren. Notice remnant logging roads along the way, evidence of the Forest Service's stewardship before the Park Service inherited these lands in 1968.
The trail soon drops a little more. After you cross a moist flat of mossy maples and yews, the Skagit River finally comes into view. Now enjoy a riverside ramble. Sun kissed gravel bars invite lingering. Look for otters, eagle, dippers, and salmon. Marvel at the towering ancient firs and cedars gracing the riverbanks. When it's time to return, continue the loop, avoiding all side trails left- unless you happen to be camping here for the night, in which case linger a little longer.
From Marblemount follow the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) east for 14 miles to Newhalem. Turn right on the access road to the Newhalem Creek Campground and the national park visitors center. Cross the Skagit River, pass the campground booth, and in 0.25 mile come to a four-way stop. Continue straight ahead for 0.6 mile, reaching a large parking area for the visitors center. The trail begins behind the northeast corner of the center. Water and restrooms available.
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Skagit River — Sep 01, 2012 — Page
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On our way to Winthrop, we stopped in Newhalem, as usual. Only this time, we turned off Hwy 20 befor...
On our way to Winthrop, we stopped in Newhalem, as usual. Only this time, we turned off Hwy 20 before the townsite, and across the bridge to the campground and visitors center. We found this hike in Craig Romano’s North Cascades Hikes book, and decided to stretch our legs before our next hike on the way to Winthrop: Blue Lake.
After a short descent to the river valley, we got to see lots of BIG trees, old growth that had been spared. The trail is wide and in great condition, with several benches hewn out of felled tree trunks that invite sitting and listening. To the river, the breezes through the leaves and campground activity. We got a nice short hike in before lunch, enjoyed the ranger’s display of grizzly and black bear pelts, admired a few Honda Gold Wings and then headed back to Hwy 20 and on to Blue Lake.