What initially seems like an exclusive boat launch area is home to a fine collection of running trails. These shady paths explore the perimeter of the forest on the coastline of the peninsula. Several noteworthy sights await you on this suburban outskirt.
What Makes It Great
Rocky beaches, bright green picnic areas, mossy trails, and picturesque views of the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains lay along this peninsular trek. Fogs and clouds sometimes impede long distance views of the Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands to the west and south. Visit on a sunny spring day and delight in the scents of mossy evergreens, the sound of the gently breaking waves, and the feel of rich, clean air in your lungs. Add time to your workout to check out the beaches and coastal trails along the way. There are also a number of inland hiking and biking trails that can make for a great half or full day out, and a campground longer visits.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, though maybe not the purists, as it can get crowded at times. Families can have a great day here with campgrounds, picnic areas, and a nice 2.2 mile loop to get exercise. Winter months are ideal for solitude until about early March when spring sun begins to warm up the land. Anacortes has an active retired population, so don't count on being alone simply because of the hours of the work day.
In terms of difficulty, this is an easy trail. The graded parts are not sustained for more than 20-30 meters. Beginners may need to walk these parts, while intermediate and expert runners should have no problem running all of the trail.
Tip: if you want to get most of the hills out of the way first, take the exit or left entrance. You can see it right when you drive up the entrance road.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-5, take the highway WA-20 West exit just past Mt. Vernon for about 12 miles total. About 9 miles in you will come to a traffic light option to turn left towards Deception Pass on WA-20 West or continue straight on WA-20 Spur to Anacortes. Continue on the WA-20 Spur all the way through the town of Anacortes. You will come to a fork in the road a few miles west on 12th Street. Bear left on Sunset Avenue and continue a couple of miles to the park entrance. Parking is available in several lots that are marked from the entrance. If available, drive up the road until you get right on the treeline for parking. That road becomes the trail.
Parking is free and no permits are required.
There are many people who bring their dogs with them, leashed and unleashed, so you might have some canine company from time to time.
Trail hours: foot traffic 6 am - dusk, vehicle traffic 10 am - dusk. I've been on the trail after they close the gates, but it's no problem to walk or bike around them to get out. It's more aimed to keep the cars off the trail.