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Beautiful, rugged state park with many amenities, close to Seattle
I can't think of any. Can YOU think of any?
In a nutshell
State's most popular park for a reason!
La Conner is a touristy but picturesque town just a few miles from the park. It has quite a few restaurants for a town of its very small size. We typically stop for lunch on our way to the park and hit the La Conner Brewing Company on the way home for a beer and dinner. They offer pizzas, quesadillas, burgers - pub food, in short. The atmosphere is very nice, with lots of wood, board games for those so inclined, and vases of flowers.
Written Sep 2, 2004
Address: 117 South First Street, La Conner
(Please note that this tip is undergoing research, and what is listed here is only what I have found out so far. As I learn more, more will be added to this tip.)
Many state parks are only accessible by private automobile, or in the case of a number of parks in Washington, by private boat as well.
However, Deception Pass State Park is also semi-accessible by public transit from either the south or north, from two different transit agencies.
The southern part of the park is located on Widbey Island, and located in Island County. This area is served by Island County Transit ( http://www.islandtransit.org ), and the current route structure serves the area with one stop near the intersection of Highway 20 and the most southern park entrance, which serves Cranberry Lake Campground and Day Use Area. It is a little bit of a walk from the bus stop to the areas inside the park, but at least the service is available.
To get to this part of Deception Pass State Park using Island Transit from Seattle, you would first have to get to Mukilteo using SoundTransit or one of the other long distance transit services operating out of Seattle. From Mukilteo you take the ferry to Widbey Island, and then use Island Transit to work you way north along the entire island, eventually getting to the Oak Harbor Transit station, where the bus route going north to the residential areas around Deception Pass State Park is located.
The northern part of the park is located on Fidalgo Island, and is located in Skagit County. This area is served by Skagit County Transit ( http://www.skagittransit.org, which offers one bus route that passes through the park on highway 20 on its way between Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor. This route is called the "Island Connector" and as it operates outside the Skagit Transit operating district to serve as a connector, it doesn't run that often. The current route number is 411W, but it is not listed as such right now on the Skagit Transit web site list of routes on the home page. However, I will also say that on my most recent visit to Deception Pass State Park, I did not notice any bus stop signs on the section of highway 20 through the state park, so unfortunately it may not be very easy to get into the park from locations where the bus actually stops.
in order to get to Deception Pass State Park from Seattle using Skagit Transit, it is first necessary to get to the Mount Vernon Transit Station. This can be done using Amtrak train, Greyhound long distance bus, or SoundTransit express bus or commuter train to Everett, and then Skagit Transit Everett connector to Mount Vernon. You would then need to take the "Island Connector Route" to Widbey Island (NOT Camano Island), which right now has been given the route number 411W. This route goes north out of Mount Vernon and follows highway 20 most of the way to Oak Harbor on Widbey Island.
So, the good news is that there is transit service available very close to the park, but the bad news is that the routes are not set up for park visitors to use, as far as my research has led me. I will be investigating further on future visits, and make additional changes to this tip based on what I find.
Updated May 9, 2010
Be very careful when walking near any cliffs especially those near the passage. The currents below can be very strong. One site I looked at suggested that the flow can be as fast as 10 knots and create whirlpools as much as 12 feet (3.6 m) wide. These figures are very frightening when thinking about being swept away by the extremely fast swells.
What seems like a frightening current to me has been seen as a challenge and popular locatoin for kayaking. The link below is an account of the kayaking during slack tides to get a more personal experience with the pass.
Updated Apr 30, 2007
Favorite thing: You should take a walk under the bridge, alond the river... the trails are in good condition, there are some steps for you to get closer to the bridge, as well as a lookout for sightseeing. There should be parking before the bridge (going from south to north), but if passed the bridge, there are some handicap parking spots, which will allow you for some quick picture taking, but don't venture off too far, you don't want your car towed in this area!
Written Oct 6, 2003