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Local Sights Around Newhalem

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Skagit General Store

Located in Newhalem, the Skagit General Store was established in 1922 as an employee commissary to serve the needs of the workers and their families on the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and opened to the public in the 1940s. Today, employees and visitors alike can purchase beverages, snacks, camping and picnic supplies.

The Skagit General Store is famous for its homemade fudge made on site. Several varieties are available along with seasonal specialties. Prepared with pride using the finest natural ingredients, Skagit Fudge makes the perfect gift or indulgence.

The Skagit General Store is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skagit Information Center

Stop by the Skagit Information Center across the street from the Skagit General Store for information on tours and local attractions. Pick up a brochure for a self-guided Walking Tour of Historic Newhalem (PDF) which will introduce you to the historic features of the town and the nearby hydroelectric plants – Gorge and Newhalem–following the footsteps of those who visited the town in the 1930s.

The Information Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week through September 30. Face coverings and social distancing are required.

Old Number Six

Check out Old Number Six, a restored Baldwin steam engine and ring its big brass bell. Located next to the Skagit General Store in Newhalem, this locomotive used to power the trains that ran between Newhalem and Rockport and offered the only access to the area during construction of the Skagit Project. Picnic tables, a playground and restrooms are nearby.

Trail of the Cedars

Photo Courtesy of North Cascades Institute

Trail of the Cedars begins at the end of Main Street in Newhalem. It is an approximately one mile loop with a short spur trail to the Newhalem Creek Powerhouse, which provided electricity during construction of the Skagit Project. Half of the trail winds along the river through a stand of impressively large western red cedar and Douglas fir trees. The other half of the trail passes through an area that burned in 2015 Goodell Creek Wildfire. The vegetation along this trail is an excellent example of the forest regeneration that is taking place following the fire. The bridge from Main Street to the trail provides great views of the Skagit River.

The Trail of the Cedars is currently open to the public.

Gorge Inn

Gorge Inn was one of the first buildings constructed in Newhalem. It served as a cookhouse and mess hall for many years, providing meals to City Light crews and tourists before closing in the 1970s. Gorge Inn was extensively renovated in 2012-2013 to once again serve its original purpose. It now includes exhibits on the history of the Upper Skagit Valley, focusing on the people who lived and worked in the area before and during the construction of the Skagit Project.

The Gorge Inn is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gorge Powerhouse Visitor Gallery

The Gorge Powerhouse Visitor Gallery makes an interesting stop for anyone curious about the history of the Skagit Project and how hydropower works. The gallery provides a view of the generator floor with detailed and interactive exhibits explaining how power is produced at the Skagit Project and delivered to the Seattle area. The exhibits also include historic photographs of how the Skagit Project’s dams and powerhouses were constructed in an era before there was road access to the area.

Park in the parking lot opposite Gorge Powerhouse – or walk from Main Street and follow the signs to Ladder Creek Falls (to your right as you face the powerhouse). When you reach the back of the powerhouse, turn left and take the walkway along the powerhouse to the stairs at the far end.

The Gorge Powerhouse Visitor Gallery is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ladder Creek Falls and Gardens

Ladder Creek Falls and Gardens, located behind Gorge Powerhouse, is a refreshing woodland retreat with close-up views of two spectacular waterfalls in a narrow gorge. To access the trail through the falls and gardens, cross the Skagit River using the pedestrian suspension bridge (to the right as you face the powerhouse). The falls are illuminated at night.

The gardens are open year-round. The lights operate from dusk until 11:00 p.m. daily.

Ross Crypt

Ross Crypt, located at the base of Ross Mountain in Newhalem, is the final resting place for J.D. Ross and his wife Alice. Ross, often referred to as the “Father of Seattle City Light,” was the driving force behind the development of the Skagit Project and led the first Skagit Tour in 1928.

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