Last week I hiked Lottie Point Loop Trail at Deception Pass State Park but couldn’t decide whether or not it was worth the walk because thick fog obscured the view in every direction. This morning as I (almost) passed by, I decided to stop and see what it was like on a clear day. I left the paved area adjacent Highway 20 and found the trail head (easy to miss so don’t blink as you go by), which is about a five minute walk from the south end of the Canoe Pass Bridge.
For the first half of the hike, while parallel to Highway 20 and then part way down the hill towards the intersection of three trails (Lighthouse Point and Lottie Bay, to Highway 20, and Bowman Bay), you’ll notice the conspicuous sound of vehicles traveling along the highway. Once you reach the sign (third and fourth photos of the collage above), the remainder is both scenic and quiet. As you head towards the start of the loop, you can see the trail to Lighthouse Point Trail (nice for hiking or trail running with great views) as well as Lottie Bay. A series of switchbacks along Lottie Point Loop will take you to several picturesque spots, including (just briefly) Rosario Head, Lighthouse Point and, if you leave the main trail and head to the right (towards the beach) at about the half mile point of the trip while still along the loop, you can look straight across to the easternmost part of Deception Pass State Park’s North Beach (full of fisherman today). Heading back uphill towards the loop, you can instead turn right and, again, head down towards the shore (and can actually reach a really nice, secluded beach) with an excellent view of Canoe Pass and bridge before it returns you to the main trail.
Once able to experience the views on this clear day, I conclude that Lottie Point Loop Trail is a worthwhile hike, although it might not be the best one for those with little kids because it’s rocky for the first half, a little steep along the switchbacks and the return from the bit down towards the water is crowded with salal. If you are trying to save a buck (well, ten, for the Discover Pass), then start at the Highway 20 trail head. If you can afford the fee, you are much better off accessing either trail (Lottie Point Loop or Lighthouse Point Loop) from Bowman Bay. Not only will you be able to see Bowman Bay (and to the west, Rosario Head), you’ll miss the noisiest, rockiest, hilliest parts of the trail and get to enjoy more of one of the most important parts of hiking: solitude. Even with the detour towards the shore, photo stops and the time it took to question a fellow (more informed) hiker, I finished the (1.2 miles by my GPS watch) hike in under 30 minutes. This is also a great place for trail running.