E. C. Manning Provincial Park

Skagit River Trail

photo of Mount Shawatum Rating: easy

Length: 15 km one way

Elevation Change: very little

Time: 4-6 hours one way

Best Time to Go: May (lots of spring flowers) - October

Start of Trail: Sumallo Grove parking lot in Manning Park OR 26 Mile Bridge parking lot on the Silver Skagit Road in the Skagit Valley Provincial Park.

This trail follows the route of the historic Whatcom Trail from Sumallo Grove to 26 Mile Bridge. Having a vehicle at each end of the trail is an advantage unless you are prepared to do a 30km return trip. Most of this trail is in the Skagit Valley Provincial Park .

Starting from Sumallo Grove one follows a short trail along the rivers edge to reach the bridge crossing the Skagit River. At this point you are no longer within the boundaries of Manning Park. The bridge and the remaining trail is in the Skagit Valley Provincial Park. Looking east there is a cut in the trees which was the old Silver Daisy mine tram and to the west you can see where the Sumallo River tributary joins the Skagit River. Approximately 200 m further along the trail there is a good view of Hatchet Head Mountain., the jagged peak to the south east, and at 288 m the trail heads away from the river.

After hiking for approximately 3/4 km the trail forks to the right. To the left is private property (possibly an old claim site) and a further few metres brings a small stream and then a stand of cottonwood and alder.

At 1.5 km the Silver Daisy Trail heads off to the left and approximately 100 m further is a brief side trip to an old mine shaft and waterfall. Another few metres brings a log bridge over Silver Daisy Creek. Continuing on for a further 200-300 m brings you to an old slide area which is a good place to see Pika, Mountain Ash, Old Man’s Beard and wall to wall moss.

At 2.3 km the trail forks to the left and a few hundred metres further along is a beautiful stand of old fir and cedar trees. At approximately 3.5 km the trail returns to the river bed and further along the river widens and is much slower moving. This is a good area for fishing. About 50 m further on watch for the double cedar tree with a large burl. It is located to the right of the trail. At this point the river overflows it’s banks during high water and silts the trail but the trail is relatively easy to locate.

The Delacy Wilderness camp is reached just past the 4 km point. This is the only wilderness site along the trail. The trail through this area is very scenic and there is a nice deep pool for fishing. Approximately 400 m further is the 26 Mile Creek crossing and another 380 m brings you to some large boulders that look like caves.

5.5 km brings you to the beginning of the Cottonwood Ecological Reserve. This reserve is set aside to maintain stands of alluvial black cottonwood for purposes of hybridization and stock improvement. The area is 69 ha. in size and is in the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. This area is quite pretty and heavily covered with lady and sword ferns beneath the huge fir and western red cedar trees. There is also some Vine Maple which turns a vibrant orange/red in September and October.

There is a slide area at 8 km. At this point part of Silver Tip Mountain is visible and the trail is high above the river giving the hiker a very nice view. Further along the trail at 28 Mile Creek there is a very large black cottonwood and a huge gravel bar. To the right is Silver Tip Mountain. After ascending a short but steep hill you reach a view point of the Skagit Valley and Silver Tip Mountain with snow patches and waterfalls year-round. Approximately 400m further is a huge slide area. Use caution and watch your footing while passing through this area.

A large patch of Red Rhododendron is found at 11.5 km. If you are fortunate enough to hike this trail in late May or mid June you will enjoy the brief flowering season along the trail. The bloom is dependent on the spring conditions. From this point on you are in a different ecogeoclimatic zone with Lodge Pole Pine, less undergrowth and Sitka Mountain Ash. The trail forks once again at 13 km, the Skagit River trail going to the right and the Centennial trail going to the left. Just a further 2 km brings you to the end of the trail and a further 200 m brings you to 26 Mile Bridge parking lot and the road to Ross Lake.

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