A winter visit to the Skagit Valley

Steven R. Lorton

The Upper Skagit Valley begins just east of I-5 in the town of Sedro-Woolley on State 20, and it ends 61 miles farther east at the south end of Ross Lake (where the highway is closed for the winter). For a travel planner contact the Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce ( www.sedro-woolley.com, 800/225-8365, or 360/855-1841).

ATTRACTIONS

Bald Eagle Interpretive Center. Offers speakers at 11:30 Sat-Sun and guided walks at 1:30 Sat-Sun. Open 10-4 Fri-Mon through Feb 17. At Rockport Fire Hall, one block south of State 20 on Alfred St. in Rockport. (360) 853-7009 (Mon-Fri) or (360) 853-7614 (weekends).

North Cascades National Park. Joint offices with the Mount Baker Ranger district. 8-4:30 Mon-Fri. 810 State 20, Sedro-Woolley; www.nps.gov/noca or (360) 856-5700.

Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop. If you're out in the mud and the muck, this is the place to get clothes to keep you warm and dry. Closed Sun. 817 Metcalf St.; (360) 855-0395.

Rasar State Park. The 60-acre park has 48 campsites as well as picnic facilities and a riverside trail. $5 parking fee. Fourteen miles east of Sedro-Woolley, turn south off State 20 onto Lusk Rd. and drive 1 mile. Turn east onto Cape Horn Rd. and drive 1 mile to park entrance on right. www.parks.wa.gov or (360) 826-3942. Sauk Mountain Pottery. Master potter Stephen Murray produces wood-fired stoneware and porcelain in designs inspired by the Cascade Mountains. Call for winter hours. 50303 State 20, Concrete; (360) 853-8689.

Sedro-Woolley Museum. Displays logging and farming implements plus a collection of photographs by Darius Kinsey, who chronicled valley life a century ago. Closed Mon-Tue; $1.50 suggested donation. 725 Murdock St.; www.sedro-woolleymuseum.org or (360) 855-2390.

Steelhead fishing. In addition to skill, you need a license and the right gear to catch steelhead. To get started, contact Sports and More: 701 Metcalf St., Sedro-Woolley; (360) 855-0648.

Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival. Demonstrations, craft sales, and entertainment Feb 1-2 in Concrete. www.skagiteagle.org or (360) 853-7009.

DINING

Hometown Cafe. Gigantic chewy, sugary cinnamon rolls are served all day. 818 Metcalf, Sedro-Woolley; (360) 855-5012.

Iron Skillet. Start with biscuits and gravy and go from there. 132 W. State St., Sedro-Woolley; (360) 855-0080.

North Cascade Inn. Stop here for hearty logger fare: huge stacks of pancakes for breakfast, enormous sandwiches for lunch, thick steaks for dinner, and pie anytime. 44618 State 20, Concrete; (360) 853-8771.

LODGING

Clark's Skagit River Resort. This quaint 125-acre resort 2 miles west of Marblemount has 40 accommodations ranging from themed cabins to rooms in the Brookhaven Lodge. The restaurant serves delicious soups and sandwiches and old-fashioned entrées like meatloaf with mashed potatoes; leave room for pie. Rooms from $59. 58468 Clark Cabin Rd.; www.northcascades.com or (800) 273-2606.

Ovenell's Heritage Inn. A dozen accommodations are spread through the main house, guest lodges, and log cabins on this 580-acre working cattle ranch. You can hike the trails, pet the livestock, or gather your own eggs for breakfast. From $80. 46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Rd., Concrete; www.ovenells-inn.com or (360) 853-8494.

Three Rivers Inn & Restaurant. Built in 1994, this modern inn has 40 rooms. From $59. 210 Ball St. (the inn faces State 20), Sedro-Woolley; (360) 855-2626.