Deception Pass State Park Travel Guide

  • Raft of logs moving through Deception Pass channel
    Raft of logs moving through Deception...
    by razorbacker
  • Aaron, Amanda, and me, mainland in distance.
    Aaron, Amanda, and me, mainland in...
    by razorbacker
  • Deception Pass between Fidalgo (r) and Whidbey (l)
    Deception Pass between Fidalgo (r) and...
    by razorbacker

Deception Pass State Park Things to Do

  • Deception Pass Bridges

    Officially speaking, highway 20 is an east-west road. Even numbers are supposed to be east-west highways. However, in this part of Washington, highway 20 leaves Anacortes and heads south to Widbey Island. Crossing from Fidalgo Island to Widbey Island at Deception Pass, the highway must use two spectacular bridges in order to cross from Fidalgo...

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  • Pass Island: views from a landmark...

    Deception Pass is a channel of water separating Widbey Island and Fidalgo Island, and passing between sheer rock cliffs. Deception Island is in the approximate center of the narrowest point of this passage, and was therefore a convenient point to act as the centerpiece for constructing the bridges of highway 20 between the two islands.Pass Island...

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  • North Beach: a view of the rugged...

    Of the beaches in Deception Pass State Park, north beach is the coldest as it is sheltered from the sun somewhat by the forest on the south side. It also has the least traditional ocean-type view, as it does not face open water.On the other hand, North Beach faces Deception Pass itself, and therefore provides the best view in the park of the...

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  • Deception Pass Beaches

    Despite the large number of sheer drops from the tops of the rocks to the water level, there are also a number of popular beaches in Deception Pass State Park. Facilities depend a great deal on which beach you are visiting. Some of the beaches are remote from facilities, while others have full restrooms and parking lots. Some are much harder to get...

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  • West Beach: Most Popular Beach and...

    In contrast to the neary North Beach, the West Beach area is directly next to a parking lot, and there are a lot of facilities here in terms of picnic tables and several flush toilet facilities. The beach looks directly west towards Vancouver Island and Victoria, though it is some 20 miles (33 km) across the water to Victoria.West Beach is not...

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  • Rosario Beach: developed grass picnic...

    The other two major beaches in Deception Pass State Park are North Beach and West Beach. While both of those have reasonably good picnic facilities, neither of them have the open grass area that Rosario Beach has.The Rosario Beach area is also unique in that it is located on a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a small neck of land. The...

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  • Cranberry Lake Day Use Area

    When entering the southern portion of the park, the Cranberry Lake Day Use Area is the first area of the park that you will come to. There is a significant amount of space dedicated to picnic spaces, and there are several covered picnic areas.At Cranberry Lake itself, which is slightly down the hill from the parking lot, you will find a pier that...

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  • Salt Water Kayaking through Swift...

    I don't know that much about kayaking, but what I can tell you is that the two narrow passageways formed between Fidalgo Island, Widbey Island and Pass Island have some fairly quick currents in them as the tide changes.The very heart of Deception Pass therefore seems to be fairly popular with those who are kayakers.I can't say for certain how much...

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  • One of America's premier state parks!

    There is so much to do there as I noted in the overview, but the the main attraction is the natural beauty in a variety of forms and "La Dolce Far Niente," the sweetness of doing nothing!

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  • Hike Around

    Deception Pass State Park has 38 miles (61 km) of hiking trails to explore including beaches and scenic viewpoints. There are three lakes which are contained within the park boundaries and wildlife can be seen throughout the park mostly waterfowl and sea birds. Some small mammals can be seen and in the waterways many sea mammals as well but the...

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  • Look at That Bridge

    The Deception Pass Bridge is one of those very frequently photographed sites in Washington. The bridge made its humble beginnings in 1935. It was built for a cost of $482,000. The bridge became increasingly popular for its scenic setting and in 1982 it became a national historical monument.The bridge itself has a span of (combined) 1,487 ft (453 m)...

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  • View from the Bridge

    Of course, the views from the bridge are really spectacular if you're here on a clear day. You can park on the side of the road at either end of the bridge and walk out to the middle of it - both sides have pedestrian sidewalks, and in the middle there's an underpass. So there's no need to risk your life running across the road!The pass itself is...

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  • Hike to Bowman Bay

    If you walk left from the parking lot instead of right (to the point), you'll find a trail going along the cliffs and through the trees over to Bowman Bay, another part of the park. It's short - maybe a mile or less? - and easy, with some scenic peekaboo views of the water and beautiful red madrona trees (for those of you unfamiliar with these...

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  • Walk Around the Point

    Right next to the beach and the statue is the point, a small hill with some nice views over the water and the San Juan Islands in several directions. Just follow the paths up the 100-ft. bluffs and around. When the tide is low you can see starfish on the rocks below.

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  • The Bridge

    The view of the bridge is beautiful. I've seen this enshrouded in fog as well as in sunlight and it's impressive either way. It's actually two different spans, because it touches down on an island in the middle. It dates from 1935 and is now a National Historic Monument.

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Deception Pass State Park Restaurants

  • JetlagCity's Profile Photo

    by JetlagCity Written Sep 2, 2004

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    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.

    view of street from pub front window

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Deception Pass State Park Transportation

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    by glabah Updated Dec 23, 2013

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    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 somewhat accessible by public transit from either the south or north. In fact, the area is served by two different bus routes.

    The southern part of the park is located on Widbey Island, and therefore it is 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.

    There are two different routes that serve this area. Island Transit Route 4 is a local route that comes out of Oak Harbor and makes a loop directly south of Deception Pass State Park, including the stop at Highway 20 near the southern entrance to the park. It operates several times a day during weekdays and hourly on weekends. Oak Harbor is one of Island Transit's significant hubs, and routes there connect south to Clinton, and to ferries to Mukilteo as well as Port Townsend.

    The other route which serves the area is Route 411, which connects Oak Harbor to Mount Vernon, where it connects with Skagit Transit and Amtrak.

    There are several ways to get to Deception Pass from Seattle using public transit, but all of them require several transfers.

    Probably the easiest is to take Amtrak to Mount Vernon and then bus route 411 from there. This requires only one transfer. By "Amtrak" this may mean one of Amtrak's trains, or one of the connecting buses that are also part of the Amtrak services in the area. The train is somewhat more scenic, however. Greyhound also serves the Mount Vernon station, and may be worth examining as well.

    A cheaper option would be to use transit bus connections to go from Seattle to Mount Vernon. This only works several times per day. This involves an express bus from Seattle to Everett, transferring to Skagit Transit 90X (which only runs several times per day) to Mount Vernon from there, and then Island Transit 411 to the park.

    Either option takes about 3 hours from Seattle.

    A more time consuming method, though possible if you are making the trip at a time when Skagit Transit or Amtrak services are not available is to make a series of connections along Whidbey Island. This involves getting to the Mukilteo ferry terminal from Seattle, which can be a time consuming process unless you are doing it during the evening rush hour as there are several trains and buses that do this at that time of day. From Mukilteo you take the ferry to Widbey Island, and then use Island Transit to work you way north along the entire island, using bus routes #1 and #411. You have to transfer at Oak Harbor Transit station, where bus route #411 or #4 may be used going north to the areas around Deception Pass State Park.

    So, the good news is that there is transit service available very close to the park, but the bad news is that the number of connections and infrequency of service make it hard to use if you are trying to get here from Seattle. However, it is possible to do it.

    Bus Route 411 Going Over Deception Pass View of Deception Pass from Bus Route 411
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

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Deception Pass State Park Local Customs

  • Kw?kwál?lw?t: The Maiden of Deception...

    NOTE: I have used the spelling Kw?kwál?lw?t as that is the closest I can come to the spelling on a r Romanized keyboard. I photographed the name on the sign and thus you can see the original name in photo 4. The legend has been drastically cut short in this tip, and to find the whole story I suggest further research, or come visit Deception Pass...

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  • Please Recycle your Fishing Line!

    Fishing line represents a hazard to wildlife because it can cause entanglement problems as well as severe problems with animals that catch fish that still has fishing line and a hook inside it.Fishing line also represents a hazard to boaters (entanglement in propellers), swimmers (general entanglement problems) and people in general.Therefore, if...

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  • History of the Area and Naming

    The area was first settled by the Samish and Swinomish Indian tribes. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that George Vancouver became the first European to discover the passage. He and his crew falsely thought that they were traversing the inner passage of a large peninsula until they discovered the passage and the realization that it was in fact an...

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Deception Pass State Park Warnings and Dangers

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    by GuthrieColin Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    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.

    Whirlpools
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Kayaking
    • Beaches

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Deception Pass State Park Favorites

  • jujub's Profile Photo

    by jujub Written Oct 6, 2003

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    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!

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