Outdoors

Hike of the week: ROCKPORT STATE PARK TRAILS

Hike description: Rockport State Park offers yet another antidote to winter doldrums and cabin fever. Hike the trails through this 670-acre old-growth forest and get a glimpse into an undisturbed ecosystem. The dense forest is home to majestic trees, many wearing shawls of moss, standing in a thick carpet of ferns. Huge trees, lush forest, some history and now and then perhaps a sight of an eagle soaring overhead.

David Douglas, the Scotsman who discovered the Douglas fir in 1825, is fittingly honored at this park, home to many Douglas fir, some of which have reached 250 feet tall. A plaque near the park entrance recounts his achievements, carried out under the auspices of the British Royal Horticultural Society. Special thanks also should be given to the Sound Timber Co. for refusing to log the majestic old-growth forest and then selling the land and timber to the Washington state for $1. In 1961 the Department of Natural Resources turned the property over to the Washington State Parks Department. The park’s name comes from the nearby community of Rockport.

The Evergreen Trail takes off to the right and goes uphill in a loop of about 3 miles. After a lunch break back at the picnic area, you can explore the Skagit View and Sauk Springs trails across the road, to log another mile of hiking down toward, but not to, the Skagit River.

Directions

: Rockport State Park is located on Highway 20, The North Cascades Highway, 0.6 miles west of Rockport and 7.6 miles east of Concrete.

Difficulty rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 5

Elevation: 250 feet

Best time of year: Year-round

Map: Green Trails Darrington No. 78; park map available at entrance kiosk

Pass: None needed

Also: Maps are generally available at the trailhead kiosk but downloading it before you head out will give you a chance to plan your adventure. Download the map at www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark= Rockport&subject=maps. Always check current opening schedules and regulations before venturing out. During the winter, Nov. 1 through March 31, the park is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Because of the fragility of the old growth forest, the campground has been closed to overnight use to protect both visitors and the park.

Info: For current hours and conditions, including any burn bans, check www.parks.wa.gov; “Washington State Parks” and “Day Hiking North Cascades,” both Mountaineers Books.

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.

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