Hiking is my favorite thing to do when I need to rejuvenate. It is especially peaceful on Whidbey Island. Most of the hikes take you down to the beach or through some amazing old growth forests. Some of the towering trees have been growing there for over 500 years. I have enjoyed vacationing on Whidbey Island many times. Every time I travel there I go on at least one hike, usually more. Here are the 10 best hikes on Whidbey Island, WA.
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Putney Woods, Saratoga Woods, and Metcalf Trail System
There is no entry fee to utilize these three connecting trail systems. Local volunteers created these trails and work hard to maintain them. There is a large trailhead parking lot off of Lone Lake Road that leads to a large web of interconnected trails. There are also a few picnic areas to stop at and rest while enjoying some food. It is a good idea to print off a map and keep it with you so that you can explore the woods and get back safely to your car. Hikers, bikers, and horses are allowed on the trails. It is usually pretty quiet on these trails as they are not overly crowded.
Deception Pass State Park
I could devote an entire article to hiking in Deception Pass State Park alone. However, I wanted to showcase as many areas on Whidbey Island as I can. There are several hikes that are in Deception Pass State Park but located on Fidalgo Island that you might like to check out. The five best hikes in Deception State Park on Whidbey Island are Deception Pass State Park – North Beach, Deception Pass Bridge and Beach Trail, Deception Pass State Park – West Beach Sand Dunes, Goose Rock Trail, and Cranberry Lake Trail.
Joseph Whidbey State Park
The trail in Joseph Whidbey State Park is a 3.6-mile loop. It is not too strenuous, so it would be fine to bring kids along. A Discover Pass or day-use permit is required and parking is limited. This trail is usually fairly quiet and takes you down to the beach. There are some great views of Lopez Island and the Olympic Mountains on the beach. It is great for hiking or trail running and dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a leash. Be ready for some mud if it has been wet lately and to turn around when you hit signage for private property.
Trillium Community Forest
This 721-acre parcel of land was slated to become a high-density housing development, but the developer went bankrupt at the Whidbey Camano Land Trust was able to purchase it. A huge number of people have pitched in to make this a terrific place for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Many areas in this forest are also protected as a refuge for wildlife. There are many miles of trails here that are accessible from three different parking lots. Grab a map from the Whidbey Camano Land Trust website or from Greenbank Farm to make sure you never lose your way.
This trail is super short and flat, making a great quick stop. It is an only one-mile round trip, has an elevation gain of 10 feet, and is only 10 minutes away from Deception Pass State Park. This spit is super cool because it juts out into the water, offering views all around. You can see Mount Baker, Hope Island, Fidalgo Island, Mount Erie, and the inner portion of Puget Sound. It is also a great place to launch a kayak or paddleboard. Paddle over to Skagit or Hope Island and back or explore the coast of Whidbey Island. This is also a great spot to hike in and go fishing. My husband and his fishing buddy have spent lots of time here trying to hook salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.
Kettles Trail System
This is another hike that is most frequented by locals. This trail system spans 243 acres and consists of 35 miles of trails. It is great for hikers and a fun playground for mountain bikers. One of the neatest things about this trail system is that it is so well connected. You can get to Fort Ebey State Park and the historic town of Coupeville via these trails. This trail is run by the Island County Trail Council and contains some lovely cedar, pine, and madrona trees. There are not a ton of views, but it is a nice experience to be in the forest. Be sure to get a map and keep it with you so that you do not get turned around on this vast expanse of trails.
Ebey’s Landing Trail
Ebey’s Landing Trail is one of the most popular trails on the island, so be ready to have some company, especially in the summer. This trail is a 5.2-mile loop that is fairly easy to navigate. Hikers can normally see a variety of wildlife along the bluff and down at the beach. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but they must be on a leash. The hike starts at the parking lot on Ebey’s Landing Road. Go onto the Bluff Trail and then turn right to go past the historic Sunnyside Cemetery. Hop back on the Bluff Trail and then follow the loop down the beach and then back to the parking lot. The views of the water are unbeatable.
South Whidbey State Park
Although camping is no longer allowed and beach access is not currently allowed, a hike in South Whidbey State Park speaks to any tree lover’s soul. There are some huge trees here, including western hemlock, Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, and western red cedar trees. There are even an impressive 500-year-old cedar and lush undergrowth. The moss and ferns on Whidbey Island always make the forest seem magical to me. There are picnic tables and shelters in which to enjoy lunch. This park requires a Discover Pass or a one-use pass.
Fort Ebey State Park
The parking lot at Fort Ebey State Park can get you to Lake Pondilla, the beach, and the Bluff Trail. If you follow the Bluff Trail southward, you can gaze down at the beach and watch for whales, tugboats, and container ships. This hike also includes the Fort Ebey bunkers and gun locations. Bring a flashlight with you if you want to explore these bunkers. Near these bunkers is a large grassy area that is prime for paragliders. Other features in the park include forested areas and ravines with gorgeous rhododendrons and the base of an old water tower. There is enough hiking here to last several days, so plan your routes accordingly.
Dugualla State Park
Dugualla State Park has five miles of hiking spread over six trails. It is a fun area to explore for people of all hiking abilities. There are usually fewer crowds here and there is a mile of beach access if the tide is low. This area was slated to be logged but luckily the state was able to buy the property and turn it into a state park. The signage here is pretty good, but it is also smart to bring a map or take a picture of the map at the trailhead. The fall foliage is especially lovely and hikers often see deer and a variety of birds. Please note that all garbage needs to be packed out.
Marie lived in the Seattle area for nearly 10 years and has visited Whidbey Island many times. Hiking is her favorite thing to do on the island. She still has family and friends in the area and goes back to visit as often as she can.