Beach Combing at Cornet Bay

The first day of fall 2014 coincided with a relatively low tide at Cornet Bay at 10 am. So, armed with my digital camera, running shoes and sunglasses, I jogged north along Cornet Bay Road to the end, then continued on past the Service Gate Do Not Block sign at the start of the paved trail to Hoypus Point. Note: this one mile path is perfect for those with kids on bikes or in strollers. And if you are a runner, skip carrying the camera and combine this trip to the point with the loop (Hiking at Cornet Bay) for a nice trail plus paved combination.

A wooden bench marks the end of the path. Follow the steps down to the sandy/gravelly beach which becomes wetter and less kid-friendly (near the shore) as you head southward back towards Cornet Bay. Beach combing in the area south of the point is only possible during a relatively low tide (+ 1.5 feet minimum, the lower the better) because of several long logs that lie perpendicular to the shore. Access between the shoreline and Cornet Bay Road is very limited, so choose to return the same way you came or commit to beach combing. Upon reaching the beach, I noticed a moon snail, which I’d never seen here before (go to Double Bluff State Park if you want to see more of them). By the end of the mile-long beach walk back, I had encountered: a group of white, polyp-like creatures hanging from an angled rock (learned later that these are metridium senile aka plumrose anemone), a tiny fire-y red sea star (henricia), a chiton (species unknown), and many different species of mollusks and barnacles among other things. Weeks prior, during a lower tide (-2 feet), I saw many more sea stars (all different colors) and burrowing sea cucumbers as well as what looked like washed-ashore (dead?) orange sea pens, and a green urchin. Although the hike to the end is easy, the walk along the beach is a little treacherous and pretty messy due to the presence of mud, algae and seaweed. Plan to spend about half an hour getting back to the parking lot. Along the way expect to sea and/or hear heron, belted kingfisher, sea gulls and maybe an eagle. There is also a nice view of the Deception Pass bridge.

Sign near trail head

Sign near trail head

Gate at entrance to Cornet Bay Road leading to Hoypus Point

Gate at entrance to Cornet Bay Road leading to Hoypus Point

Sign at trail head at the end of Cornet Bay Road that leads to Hoypus Point

Sign at trail head at the end of Cornet Bay Road that leads to Hoypus Point


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