The Hiker Mama

Rock Shelter Trail

Distance: 2/3 mile round trip

Elevation Gain: 30 feet

High Point: 500 feet

Season: Spring through Fall

Maps: Pick up a handout at the NPS Visitor Center

Description: Walk a gentle trail along the lush Newhalem Creek to a shelter under a large boulder. This was used by Native Americans as a hunting camp, and children will be interested in the smoke marks on the rocks. Imagine what it must have been like for those people who lived, hunted, ate and slept in the forest! Mosses, liverworts, ferns and other deep forest plants carpet the ground. There is a wooden observation platform at the shelter with interpretive signs. Access to the shelter is fenced off to preserve it. We also took a spur trail over to the banks of Newhalem Creek to explore. The tumultuous waters do not allow for safe water play, but there are neat spots to explore and rest and have a snack. This path is wheelchair accessible. [Caution: This trail might be subject to closures due to the 2015 forest fires. Contact the park service before attempting this trail.]

Directions: This trail is located just to the east of Loops C and D of the Newhalem Campground. Drive Highway 20 west from I-5 in Burlington to milepost 120. Turn right just before the town of Newhalem, following signs for the campground and NPS Visitor Center. Cross over the Skagit River on a one-lane bridge, pass the park entry kiosks, and turn left at the four-way intersection toward Loops C and D. Drive 1/3 mile on this road to the trailhead kiosk on the right; parking is on the side of the road.

Links: Read about these trails and others nearby at the NPS website.