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Wiley Slough - Fir Island

Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area
48.3252, -122.3746 Map & Directions
2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
49 feet
Highest Point
15 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty

This area will be closed through November 2023.

Bird flying over the slough. Photo by Liz Rainaud. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Coast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
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Take a waterside walk along Wiley Slough in the Skagit Wildlife area on Fir Island. Continue reading

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Hiking Wiley Slough - Fir Island

Wiley Slough is a flat walk on a wide gravel path. This out-and-back walk is on Fir Island, an island you arrive upon simply by crossing the South Fork of the Skagit River. The Skagit Valley is an agriculture-rich area and home to an abundance of birds and waterfowl. The trail is wide and marked frequently with signs delineating the legal areas for waterfowl hunting. Hunting is generally from September 1 to March 1.

Recent work has removed trees and bushes alongside the trail in order to aid in flood control.  The duck blinds are gone and the view is more expansive. The tides dictate how much water fills the area. There is a lot of woody debris in the water, providing protection from predators. 

The trail is flat and open. While that aids in amazing views, it can also be very windy. A jacket will be helpful. Follow the wide trail as it winds along the water. On the west side, you will quickly come to a well-marked Bird Viewing blind, a brown structure that is wheelchair accessible. It’s a nice spot to get out of the wind and observe bald eagles, great blue herons and other flying creatures. Crows, robins, wrens and a variety of ducks can also be observed. See how many giant eagle nests you can spot. 

Continuing on, the view gets more expansive. Look out at the tall snags in the water and you’ll likely spot perching bald eagles. If you watch for a while, one may take flight, circle and catch the thermals, rising high into the sky. If you are lucky, as I was, you’ll catch an aerial battle for the furry food one eagle was bringing to its nest. 

Close to the shore search for great blue herons standing in the water. They blend in so well, it’s hard to spot them until they take flight. Listen for the sound of their wings, it’s amazing! During the winter season, you will see farm fields filled with trumpeter swans and snow geese. If you stop and listen, you’ll hear a chorus as they continuously honk to each other, while gathering food. 

Walk as far as you want or until you reach the end. The trail narrows a bit. Turn back and enjoy a different view of what Skagit Wildlife Area has to offer.

Wheelchair Accessibility

This trail is quite wide and flat. Toward the end of the 1.3 mile length of the trail it narrows out and isn't so wheelchair friendly, but most of the trail is wide.

Hike Description Written by
Liz Rainaud, WTA Correspondent

Wiley Slough - Fir Island

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.3252, -122.3746 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

This area will be closed through November 2023.

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Exit I-5 at exit 221 in Conway. Turn west, then take the second exit in the roundabout and continue west. Travel briefly through the beautiful farmlands before turning left on Wylie Road. You’ll see “Public Fishing” signs to mark the way. From there, proceed to the posted entrance on your left.

You have two options for parking; both with restrooms. You’ll pass an entrance sign and then arrive at a T intersection in the dirt road. Taking a left takes you to the big parking lot, great for boat trailers. Taking a right takes you to a smaller parking lot with a large picnic shelter.

More Hike Details


Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Skagit Wildlife Area

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Wiley Slough - Fir Island

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