in partnership
(Image courtesy of Gretchen Bossio).

Is there anything more PNW than a Skagit Eagle Festival?

What is it about the bald eagle that is so awe inspiring?

Is it their gigantic wingspan? Their regal appearance? Their amazing eyesight? Whatever it is, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that the bald eagle is the emblem of the United States of America. These birds of prey are AMAZING! And, many of them call our dear state of Washington home!

During the month of January, bald eagles are especially prevalent in and around the Skagit Valley. So much so that an annual festival is going on in their honor. During the Skagit Eagle Festival the towns of Concrete, Rockport, and Marblemount are hosting tours each weekend, various educational programs, and guided walks --- all with a focus on bald eagles.

Along the Skagit River you’ll spy nests of impressive size and, if you’re patient, bald eagles perched in trees or soaring through the sky. Last January our family trekked to Eastern Skagit County to participate in a lesson at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center and then a viewing walk. Although it was a rainy day, we dressed appropriately and had a wonderful time learning and exploring. We’re already excited to go back and check out other events this year!

In the coming weekends, pick and choose what activities suite you best and dive into the world of bald eagles through the Skagit Eagle Festival. Below are a few highlights you’ll find the entire list of activities here.

Arts & Crafts For Kids

  • Upper Skagit Library – 45770B Main Street, Concrete
  • Every Saturday in January 2019: 10am-3pm
  • Tailored to families with young children, you’ll enjoy stories, songs, and crafts all about bald eagles, their habitat, and other Skagit wildlife at the Concrete library.

Bald Eagles Up Close

  • Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Sutter Creek Rest Area (MP100), and Marblemount Fish Hatchery
  • Every Saturday and Sunday, call (360) 854-2630 for time details
  • Don’t have binoculars of your own? No worries! Volunteers well versed in spying eagles will have binoculars and spotting scopes available to share. Those same volunteers are a wealth of information, so bring your bald eagle questions!

Deep Forest Experience

  • Rockport State Park – 51095 State Route 20, Rockport
  • Every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, December – February
  • Free guided tours every hour 11am – 2pm
  • This is the walk/hike we went on last year and our family still talks about it - Rockport State Park is beautiful! We began our tour at the Discovery Center (set aside a good 30 minutes for this - it’s full of interesting displays and hands-on activities) and were then led by an experienced guide through a small section of the 670 acres of old-growth forest around Sauk Mountain. You’ll need a Discover Pass to park at the state park so don’t forget it! If you don’t yet have one you can pre-buy a day ($11.50) or annual ($35) pass here.

Skagit River Eagle Viewing and Photography Tour

  • Skagit River Eagle Tours
  • 7349 Ranger Station Rd, Marblemount
  • This is the goldmine experience! For three hours you’ll explore the bald eagle’s habitat in a heated drift boat. It’s the perfect way to capture photos of bald eagles, so bring your gear! Reservations are required, cost is $95/person. More information here.

Native American History, Food, Storytelling, and Music

Marblemount Community Hall – 60055 State Route 20, Marblemount

  • January 12 from 10am – 5pm
  • Plan your outing around the Indian tacos and fry bread that will be for sale from 11am-3pm yum! During that time you’ll get a wonderful glimpse of the Native American culture that calls Skagit Valley home.
  • Wildlife Hayride and Campfire
  • Double O Ranch – 46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Road, Concrete
  • January 19, 11am
  • A free, educational hayride to see animals and more! Warm drinks and cookies will be served by the fire. If weather is dicy, call ahead to make sure everything is happening as scheduled: (360) 853-8494.

Birds of Prey Presentation

  • Concrete High School Gymnasium – 7830 S. Superior Avenue, Concrete
  • Shows on January 26 at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm
  • We attended this last year after our hike at Rockport State Park. It was fantastic to see birds of prey up close. My son is very much a Wild Kratts kids and this was definitely his favorite activity.