By John King
Stretching from the snow-capped North Cascades to the saltwater shores of Puget Sound, Skagit (pronounced SKA-jit) County showcases the best of western Washington — from peaks nearing 9,000 feet to lush lowland valleys to dense forests and bucolic beaches.
This Skagit Flats–Fidalgo Loop auto tour traces a 74-mile, counter-clockwise itinerary through the western portion of the county, offering an introduction to the natural variety that makes Skagit Valley such a marvel. From the bustling cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington along the I-5 corridor, the route strikes west to the shores of Padilla Bay, circles Fidalgo Island through the port city of Anacortes, and passes the scenic Deception Pass State Park. Returning to the mainland, it traverses the Skagit Flats, a fertile agricultural district that dazzles with colorful floral displays every spring.