The 22.5-mile Cascade Trail—boasting 12 benches, 23 trestles, and two bridges made from repurposed railcars—-follows the Skagit River as it parallels State Route 20 into the Cascade foothills of northwest Washington (ending in Concrete). The trail, completed in 1999, claims its origins from the Great Northern Railway, which transported lumber and concrete during the 20th century. The mostly crushed-stone pathway runs through cultivated fields, open space, scattered woodlands, and river bottoms. The nearby river provides for some great fishing and nice river views, as well as scenic vistas of Sauk Mountain and other Cascade Range peaks.
You can start the trail in the outskirts of Sedro–Woolley at the Fruitdale Road intersection. A portable toilet is available at the trailhead. Here, you'll have the option of heading west for less than 1 mile of paved trail or east for 22 miles of crushed rock. After you've passed mile 14 and Lusk Road, consider heading south approximately 1 mile to the 169-acre Rasar State Park, a beautiful location for fishing, camping, and eagle spotting.
As you continue along the trail, note the beautiful backdrops of the region. Expect a couple detours; a little less than three-quarters of the way in, the trail diverts at Baker Lake Road onto a bridge walkway along SR 20, crosses Grandy Creek, and returns via Bird Dog Lane.
The trail ends at Concrete Senior Center (after passing concrete silos and crossing E Avenue). You'll find restrooms and water here. Cross the historic Henry Thompson Bridge, one of the longest single-span cement bridges in the West when it was built, to rest at the riverside picnic tables at the Baker River Project and Visitor Center.
To access the western end of the trail, take Interstate 5 to Exit 232/Cook Road. Head east on Cook Road for 4.3 miles. Take a left onto SR 20/SR 9, and drive 2 miles to Fruitdale Road. Turn right to the trailhead; there is easy trail access for horse trailers here.
To reach the Concrete trailhead from I-5, follow Cook Road 4.3 miles west. Turn left onto SR 20/SR 9, and follow it 23.9 miles. Turn left (north) into town on Douglas Vose III Way, and immediately turn right onto Railroad Avenue to the Concrete Senior Center.
To reach the midpoint Birdsview trailhead from Cook Road, follow SR 20 for 17.3 miles, and turn left onto Baker Lake Road. Find horse trailer parking at all trailheads.
Parking is also available in Lyman and by Challenger Road, which parallels SR 20 for 2 miles in Concrete. Skagit Transit (SKAT) stops at four points near the trail, enabling users to access shorter stretches. Find the bus schedule online.