Monday, October 12, 2009

Padilla Bay Shore Trail: A Path to Nature

Padilla Bay Shore Trail: beginning trail marker The Padilla Bay Shore Trail is a spectacular bicycle and pedestrian pathway along the estuary of the Skagit River. Part of the estuary tidal flats are ringed by dikes, which were built to create farmland out of the mud flats. The 2 mile trail, atop a dike, follows one of the many sloughs that enter into Padilla Bay. The surface of this flat trail is hard pack gravel, which makes bicycling easy, even for youngsters.  

Padilla Bay Shore Trail: shack

Padilla Bay is a tidal bay that is entirely flooded at high tide — at low tide mudflats are exposed. The bay is very shallow. Near Hat Island the bay is only 12 feet (4 m) deep. These mud flats are habitat for many species of birds and animals. You can often see a great blue heron stalking its prey:

Padilla Bay Shore Trail: great blue heron

All along the trail you can see spectacular views of the San Juan islands and the Chuckanut Mountains to the north:

Padilla Bay Shore Trail: looking north

Drive north on Interstate 5, and take Exit 230 (state Route 20), and turn left (west) and drive six miles to Bayview-Edison Road (turn right). Follow the road for about a mile until you come to the trailhead parking on the left.

Padilla Bay Shore Trail trailhead (click to display larger map)  For more info about Padilla Bay, click here.

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