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Situated near the upper end of the Skykomish river valley, the community of Skykomish graduated from a booming little railroad and logging town of the early 1900s to a center of outdoor recreation and tourism. You can still see many of the buildings it had in its heyday. The town still has the appearance of its time as the utmost logging and mining destination. But now, Skykomish is better known as the gateway to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, offering an abundance of activities for all seasons.
Things to do in Skykomish
There are some great hiking and biking trails in and around Skykomish. You’ll find marked trails to explore on foot, as well as abandoned logging roads that make for exciting mountain biking, 4-wheeling and snowmobiling. Skykomish River, which runs through the middle of town, is the closest whitewater rafting destination from Seattle. There are all sorts of fun for all, from a lazy river float for kids and families to a classic V whitewater adventure. The river is also known for its species of Pacific Salmon and steelhead, and has two great spots for fishing throughout the year. If you’d rather watch fish than cast bait, you can join the salmon watchers at Maloney Creek. The Skykomish Environmental Institute tracks and blogs about the lifecycle of local salmon of Maloney Creek, a seasonal stream that runs through town. Skykomish is also where you can see dozens of trains pass through the historic district, and it’s not uncommon for tourists to capture the town’s railroad heritage on film.
Day trips from Skykomish
Skykomish is often a stopping point on the way to the surrounding mountains. Visitors often head to Deception Falls State Park, home to waterfalls known as “Crack in the Earth Falls,” for their unique attributes. Stevens Pass, a mountain pass through the Cascade Mountains, has the Pacific Crest Trail for warmer seasons and Stevens Pass Ski area for the winter months. Skykomish is surrounded my mountains, so whether you travel north, south, east or west, you’ll see green and peaks all around. There’s the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to the east, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the north, and Snoqualmie Pass to the south. If you head east far enough, you’ll eventually get to Seattle after driving around an hour and 20 minutes, or 67 miles. Everett, due northwest, is also a nice day trip from Skykomish, offering a balance of urban and natural scenery.
When choosing accommodation in this mountain town, inns, cabins or chalets are your best bet. Book your stay at a historic inn that has been around since 1922 and features a café and lounge. Rent a cabin near the river, with perks such as incredible mountain views and multiple bedrooms. Cabins can accommodate from one to six people, but each rental varies in terms of size. For a bigger crowd, chalets are another option. With space for up to 12 guests, the chalets in Skykomish offer multiple bedrooms and amenities such as hot tubs and outdoor decks. There are also motels along Highway 2 for more traditional options.
Transportation in Skykomish
The surrounding mountains make road access to the rest of King County fairly difficult. However, U.S. Highway 2, aka the Cascade Highway, connects Skykomish with Snohomish County to the north and through Stevens Pass to the east to Chelan County. There’s a fun little train in Skykomish on the Great Northern and Cascade Railway, but it’s not to be confused as a means of transportation. Driving is highly recommended for getting in and out of Skykomish. Walking is another option in town.
Popular Day Trips Near Skykomish