While it may be one of the busiest Washington parks in the summer, Deception Pass State Park is still accessible and nearly as beautiful throughout the offseason. The second major draw of the park is the variety of landscapes visitors will find. Whether you’re looking to spend a day at the beach, have a picnic on a grassy hill with a view, or take a hike through dense forests, Deception Pass has it all. The park encompasses three miles of bike trails, six miles of horse trails and about a mile of wheelchair-accessible trails. With so much variety, you can visit again and again and find something new.
If it is your first visit or your 41st, the Goose Rock trail is a must-hike at Deception Pass. The trail is just under five miles roundtrip and has little elevation gain, but still provides the best views of the Olympic Mountains and San Juan Islands. The view site marks the highest point on Whidbey Island.
Your journey begins at the west end of Cranberry Lake inside the state park, where you’ll see the trail, marked North Beach Trail, on the far side of the outdoor education amphitheater. This first leg of the path to Goose Rock is wide and well-maintained. It will lead you above North Beach and toward the bridge. After crossing under, keep left at the fork for the Perimeter Trail. Continue to keep left as the trail brings you up and around the side of Goose Rock. You’ll notice smaller paths diverging from the Perimeter Trail. Many of these small trials lead down to the water and on a clear day offer scenic views of Mount Baker. The Perimeter Trail continues to meander down toward the beach and back up again before you’ll come to another fork. This time stay right. Enjoy the beautiful, grassy hillside and be on the lookout for wildflowers. Finally, at a well-signed intersection, follow the Summit Trail to the vista point. Keep heading up, up and up to the top of Goose Rock.
Deception Pass State Park can be reached from I-5 exit 230 for Anacortes/Burlington. After exiting, turn left onto Highway 20 West and continue for 11 miles. The turn for the park will be marked Whidbey Island/Deception Pass. Cross the impressive bridge and into the park. To reach the parking lot, following the lower road around Cranberry Lake until the road ends at the beach parking lot.
Length: 38 total miles of hiking trails
Pass/Fee: Discover Pass