Deception Pass State Park, Washington

Deception Pass State Park, Washington

Hike one or more of the trails in Deception Pass State Park to discover the peaceful beauty of this special place.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  Varies
Trailhead(s):  Multiple
Elevation Gain:  Negligible
Trail Type:  Various
Dogs:  Allowed On Leash *
Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate
Permit Required?  Yes – $10 Day Pass (Automated Pay Stations Available in Park) or Annual Pass
Considerations:  Busy in Summer
Season:  Year Round

* Not permitted on Kiket Island


Hike any of the trails in Deception Pass State Park and the beauty of this special place will soothe your soul.


Off the coast of Washington a beautiful, but potentially dangerous pass connects the Puget Sound with the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  A true wonder to witness, Deception Pass is split in two by a small island and ringed by rugged cliffs.    The beauty of Deception Pass is dramatic, but it belies the danger lying beneath the pair of historic sky high bridges which span it.

The changing tides of the Pacific flow very fast through this narrow pass, often reaching speeds in excess of 9 miles per hour.  Water moving so quickly here creates standing waves, whirlpools, and eddies.  Although adventurous kayakers love the class 2 and 3 rapid conditions, most of the boats wait for slack tide.  From land these swift waters can be safely viewed from the bridge’s pedestrian walkways or from a hiking trail on Whidbey Island.

Deception Pass is fun to see, but the real gem here is what surrounds it.  Filled with amazingly beautiful coves, cliffs, forests, and beaches, Deception Pass State Park is a delightful place to unplug and explore.


With over 100,000 feet of combined salt and fresh water shoreline to explore and discover, Deception Pass State Park is a fantastic place to recreate.  Because it has so much to offer, on, off, and around the water, it is a busy place.  In fact, it is Washington’s most visited state park.  Because it is so popular, advance planning is strongly advised for those wishing to stay in one of its three campgrounds.  For those not camping here, avoid the struggle of finding a parking spot by simply arriving early.  The day use parking areas fill quickly.

Like Deception Pass, Deception Pass State Park is also split in two.  Part of it is on Fidalgo Island and part of it is on Whidbey Island.  This allows visitors a lot of flexibility when exploring the 3,800+ acres contained within Deception Pass State Park.  There is something here for everyone, and the opportunities are abundant and varied.  For instance, there are docks and moorings for water activities and concessions for rentals and guide services.

Most importantly for us, however, there are trails.  All of them are for hiking, and a few offer opportunities for biking, and horse riding.  For those of us who like to hike, a trip to Deception Pass State Park will not disappoint.


Hiking is a great way to explore and experience Deception Pass State Park.  Although there are 3 miles of bike trail and 6 miles of equestrian trail, most of the trails in Deception Pass State Park are exclusively for hiking.  The 38 miles of hiking trails here include 6 trails on Fidalgo Island and 20 trails on Whidbey Island.  In the Hoypus Hill area of Whidbey Island, 12 of the trails are linked together in one system.  Some of these trails are multi-use so hikers may find bikes or horses also using them.

Whidbey Island Hiking Trails

The trails on Whidbey Island are quite varied.  Along the West Beach and North Beach they take hikers to the shoreline and through sand dunes to explore the ocean beach environment.  For those seeking an entirely different experience, the Goose Rock trails lead to excellent in close views of Deception Pass as well as wide views of the entire area.  Lastly, the Hoypus trails allow those seeking greater solitude the opportunity to explore a varied forest environment.  They also provide access to one of the largest old growth forests still remaining in the lowlands of the Puget Sound.

Fidalgo Island Hiking Trails

On Fidalgo Island there are fewer trails.   Trails running along the calmer beaches of Bowman Bay offer endless opportunities to explore tide pools at low tide.  Those running along and around the high cliffs above the bay offer breathtaking views.  Alternatively, for those looking to explore inland, there are also excellent trails.  These let hikers explore the freshwater shoreline and forested areas of Pass Lake as well as the forest and valley between Ginnett Hill and Roger Hill.

We absolutely loved exploring the trails along Lottie Point and Lighthouse Point.  The views of Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, Bowman Bay, and Deception Island were outstanding, and it was fun to explore the coves.  We can’t wait to get back to discover more of this awesome park, and hope you find time to visit this special place.  Outventure on!

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information (Click below to follow links.)

Deception Pass State Park Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

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Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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