The Eagle Festival, 2017 has come up to life and is going full throttle in North Cascades area. The entire region is bustling with activities with swarms of visitors flocking the area. Majority of visitors come to see the peculiar bald eagles that come to the region during the January months. Here is where to spot Bald Eagles in North Cascades.
Eagles usually do feed along the river in the wee hour of morning. However on cloudy or rainy days they come to the river bank in the late morning and early afternoon for feeding. Whereas on sunny days they soar over the valley majestically.
Here are four places with volunteer guides with telescopes.
- Skagit River Interpretive Center
- Mile Post 100 Rest Area on State Route 20.
- Howard Miller Steelhead Park
- Fish Hatchery at Marblemount
A great place for viewing Eagle is the Bald Eagle Natural Area, a State Fish and Wildlife viewing site on Martin Road, off SR 530, south of the Skagit River bridge. The sun remains behind and thus great for photo ops.
Okay! Where to spot bald eagles in North Cascades?
1. The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Centre
This is housed inHoward Miller Steelhead Park, Lockport. The centre is open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Guided walks to eagle watching sites in Howard Miller Steelhead Park at 11:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays are available. Guest presenters meke slide presentations about the river, local history, geology, eagles, or salmon every Saturday at 1:00 pm. The Centre also house a souvenir shop. You can also obtain free information, directions to the Eagle Watcher sites. Enjoy the amazing views of eagles on the Skagit and Sauk rivers from distance.
2. U.S. Forest Service & North Cascades Institute Eagle Watcher Sites
Eagle Watcher volunteers are here to answer questions, supply information, and help visitors to locate bald eagles through their spotting scopes and binoculars. Check out for the yellow “Eagle Watcher” signs at Mile Post 100 on State Route 20, Howard Miller Steelhead County Park and the Marblemount Fish Hatchery.
You should ideally be taking help of volunteers to safely watch bald eagles without disturbing the eagles themselves. These locations have restroom facilities, parking lot, trained staff and facilities for great views of eagles!
3. Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport
You can reach the park from Alfred Street in Rockport, or via State Route 530, near the bridge over the Skagit River. The park is very close to the bridge. The main vantage point is from the bridge itself, looking up the stream to gravel bars, and the trees along the river.
4. Milepost 100 Rest Area, at Sutter Creek on State Route 20
The Skagit River runs directly next to this site allows tourists an amazing view of feeding areas on the gravel bars on the south side of the river. The site has big parking space, picnic tables, smalltoilets, a boat launch, and interpretive displays.
5. Marblemount Fish Hatchery
Tours at Fish Hatchery are offered on Saturdays and Sundays from the last weekend in December through mid-February. The well-informed guides guide you into the hatchery to explain how eagles relate to the lifecycle of the Pacific Salmon. You will be delighted to see living salmon eggs and alevin in the hatchery and can feed the fish in the outdoor pens (great fun for kids!). The hatchery river frontage offers stunning views of eagles, hawks, blue herons, ducks, and dippers.
6. Washington Eddy, Rockport
Trees and vegetation have now grown up in the area and obscured river viewing at this site. It is no longer staffed by Eagle Watcher volunteers and the interpretive displays have been withdrawn. Despite this it remains a great bird watching area. The place is also has a large beaver lodge.
7. The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center in Newhalem
To North Cascades Visitor Centre at Newhalem has interpretive exhibits on the formation about the region and eagles. Check out the Park documentary, slideshow, bookstore, and souvenir shop. There are miles of easy and accessible trails around the Visitor Centre. Guided tours are available. Bald eagles densely populate the area.
Skagit Wildlife Area (Skagit Flats): The area where the Skagit River cuts into Puget Sound, along Fir Island, is another great spot to find eagles. There are around thousands of snow geese too.
Bay View State Park (Padilla Bay)
Deception Pass State Park (Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island)
Washington Park (Anacortes)
Bellingham: The Nooksack River to the east of this beautiful city is a good spot to find eagles. Another best place is a viewing pullout just east of milepost 20 on state Route 542.
Ellensburg: You don’t have to stop. Just drive along state Route 821 through the Yakima Canyon. There are plenty of eagles overing over the Yakima river to be seen.
Hoquiam: The Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge west of the town is the place to reach. Among other birds, the place also attracts eagles.
Rosburg: The Grays River that flows into Columbia River attracts dozens of eagles. The best viewing season is from mid January to early February.
Sequim: Lots of eagles can be spotted at Discovery Bay side of Miller Peninsula. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is another place to go.
South Prairie: Drive along the Foothills Trail east of this small time and you will find bald eagles perched high in the tall streamside trees.
Tacoma: There are many locations around Commencement Bay to watch eagles. You can find them on the pilings near the mouth of the Puyallup River. You can also watch them as you drive along Marine View Drive.
Some of the places above are not in North Cascades region. The info is provided keeping in mind of people who want to see bald eagles but cannot take a trip to North Cascades.