On Top of the World in Anacortes
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Fidalgo Island has an impressive amount of public open space. Between the huge Anacortes Community Forest, Washington Park and Deception Pass State Park there is no shortage of exploring to do. The most notable geographic landmark on the island is undoubtedly its high point. Mt. Erie rises to nearly 1300 ft. above sea level and has a south facing rock wall that is vertical enough to be one of the most popular technical climbing spots around. Those features along with the tall radio towers at the summit make the landmark easy to spot from as far away as the San Juan Islands. During our five week stay at the base of the mountain we came to depend upon its visual prominence to orient us home after long days of exploring in the region.
To get to the top you can either hike up forest trails or drive up the windy narrow paved road. We drove our dually to the top several times and never had a tough time finding parking although it could get congested in peak season. The views from the top are nothing short of spectacular. On clear days Mt. Baker, the N Cascade Range and even Mt. Rainer and the Olympic Peninsula provide a mountainous backdrop. However It is the tapestry of water and land draped below that really steals the show. The moment We first walked up to the edge of the cliff our jaws dropped. This was a landscape like we had never seen before and we felt grateful that we had chosen this place as the next stop in our journey. From the top we could see the San Juan Islands to the west with Canada’s Vancouver Island behind them. To the South and East we had a birds eye view of Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, Laconner and the colorful tulip fields of the Skagit Valley.
We returned to the same spot on the evening of the next full moon with the hope of seeing it rise above the impressive scene. The moonrise was favorably timed with sunset and the skies were mostly clear to the east except for the puffy clouds that hovered low over the mountains. As it turned out the sunset fizzled out in a bank of fog as it set so the foreground colors faded before the moon came up but it was an amazing site nonetheless.