East from Sedro-Woolley , Highway 20  skirts the Skagit River, climbing easily toward the first Cascade foothills. The landscape is farms, fields, and forests, with the serrated summit of Sauk Mountain to the east. Clear-cut hillsides, second- (or third-) growth forests, and closed lumber mills offer contrasting versions of the logging heritage.
The fading town of link Concrete was home for many years to the largest cement plant in the state, and the source for cement used in building Grand Coulee Dam, as well as the Ross and Diablo dams. Although environmental regulations closed the outdated, dusty plant in 1968, the prosaic town name remains. (It could have been worse; the town’s original name was Cement City.)
Concrete burned several times in the early part of the last century and was finally rebuilt, using concrete, of course. The 5,537-foot summit of Sauk Mountain rises straight behind Main Street. Today, the run-down town limps along on a mix of tourism and timber. All that remains of the cement industry are the aging silos on the west end of town, a scattering of other buildings, and the quarry near Lake Shannon.
There aren’t a lot of in-town attractions; your best bet is to pick a Main Street bench and sit with the locals a spell. Of minor interest is Superior Street, with its unique under-the-high-school access to the airport. Eagles are visible along the Skagit River in winter, and elk herds can be seen just west of town in winter and spring.
Camp Seven Logger’s Museum (Railroad Ave., 360/853-7185, open weekends in summer, $2) is a small private collection of logging-era flotsam and jetsam.
Just east of town is the Henry Thompson Bridge over the Baker River. When completed in 1918, it was the longest single-span cement bridge in the world. A quarter mile east of this is the Puget Sound Energy Visitors Center. Check out the unusual fish elevator nearby, used to help get returning salmon around the Baker Dam; see the salmon here between June and December. Sauk Mountain Pottery, three miles east of Concrete, is worth a visit for wood-fired stoneware and porcelain.