Once a popular camping destination, Rockport State Park was converted into day-use only to protect its old growth forest. The park’s ancient trees, having never been logged, form a landscape and ecosystem seldom seen nowadays, a canopy of towering evergreens so dense that minimal sunlight shines through.
“It’s all about diversity, learning and experiencing,” Steven Starlund, Rockport State Park senior park aide, told the Skagit Valley Herald. “So now this park is a place for education and it’s perfect for that because there are very few of these types of forests left. Look around, the trees in this area are 100 to 150 feet taller than anything around it. Every inch of this forest is covered with biomass. It literally keeps growing. There is a lot going on inside this 700 acres.”
Breathe in the crisp smell of conifers and feel the earth beneath your feet, then look up and marvel at the Rockport giants, some more than 250 feet tall. Enjoy the park’s Deep Forest Experience on weekends December through mid-February. Take an interactive hike through the forest with a knowledgeable guide. Visit the park’s Discovery Center with your family for engaging activities and displays about this area and to build a craft to take home.
Rockport State Park staff and volunteers lead half-mile, 45-minute walks under a dense canopy of maple trees and old growth fir, cedar and hemlock. Many of the Rockport trees are more than 400 years old and top out at 250 feet. They include the 500-year old Grandmother Cedar. During the walks, interpretive staff and guest speakers discuss the ecosystems that keep forests healthy, including salmon-bearing streams, bird and animal scat and mycorrhizal fungi.
This park has a trail for every ability level, including the friendly, fully accessible West Loop Interpretive Trail, which meanders for a mile through thickets of old growth.
Directions: About 7 miles east of Concrete or 32 miles east of Sedro-Woolley, the park’s entrance is well marked on the north side of Highway 20 between milepost 96 and 97. (Click here for Google Map.) Discover Pass required.