Trail Running (or Hiking) at Dugualla State Park

Even those who have lived on Whidbey Island for years might not know about Dugualla State Park, part of Deception Pass State Park. Of the seven sites listed on the Deception Pass Park Foundation web site, which include: Goose Rock, The Bridge, Cranberry Lake, West Beach, Rosario Beach and Tide Pools, Pass Lake, North Beach, Hoypus Forest, Cornet Bay, Bowman Bay, Dugualla State Park and Kukutali Preserve, it’s the only one not shown on the Official Park Map. According to the info available at the site, “The land that is now Dugualla State Park was originally owned by the Department of Natural Resources as part of the School Lands Trust.  In 1992 Washington State Parks acquired the 586 acre property to prevent it from being logged.”

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Here you can also find a printable version of the park map displayed just past the entrance to the park, which is accessible by heading south from Deception Pass State Park to Sleeper Road, turning left, continuing past the four way stop at the intersection of Taylor Road, and continuing until the road ends. On the Google Map below, the red icon shows the park location.

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Placards on 4×4 posts mark the trails (though not all).

Dugualla State Park trail marker

Dugualla State Park trail marker

A more recent map exists, which must simply have not yet been made available at the site.

Dugualla Bay State Park Map

Those who make the effort to visit the park (which, btw, has no restroom facilities) may find themselves hiking or running in utter solitude (though occasionally serenaded by the sound of freedom or bothered by unwanted jet noise, depending on the recreationalist’s perspective). Except in summer, trails, especially the wider, older, former logging roads (Beach, North and Wetland trails) are typically grassy, wet and muddy, which makes it a great place to see mushrooms like these


You might also noticed wildflowers like the henbit


or maybe even a toad

Toad along Wetland trail at Dugualla State Park

Toad along Wetland trail at Dugualla State Park

One of the highlights of the park is Big Tree, which is prominently located along the newer continuation of the North trail (not shown on the older/original map).


In order to preview the trails (for a future outing with my trail runner friends) and learn the approximate total trail mileage at the park, I set out earlier this month with my GPS watch and my map. Starting at the gate, I followed the North trail and passed Big Tree, continued along the South trail and completed the Big Loop counterclockwise (repeating part of it on a second partial trip around the loop), then followed the Wetland trail, Slingshot (along the left fork at the end) to the Beach trail (head to the right), touched the Big Tree before turning around and heading up the Big Tree trail (there’s an unmarked fork at one point, go left) back to the Wetland trail (left), Beach trail (left) to the furthest Slingshot trail marker, then turn right onto Slingshot (you end up hitting this trail twice) and returned to the Wetland trail (right), which I followed back to the trail head. The total mileage turned out to be about a 10 K, but my &%$# accountability watch failed me for a moment, which is obvious on this screen capture of my route:

Dugualla State Park trail run

Dugualla State Park trail run route

The only trail I skipped was the steep portion of the Beach trail that leads from Big Tree to Dugualla Bay because the beach is only accessible during low tide and it’s a steep return trip back to Big Tree. For the most part (except for the Beach Trail between the Beach and the start of the Big Tree trail, which is pretty steep), the terrain is suitable for hiking and trail running.

4 thoughts on “Trail Running (or Hiking) at Dugualla State Park

    • Mary Lou – Frostad Road is just north of Sleeper Road (the two roads are parallel). Frostad Road east runs east-west and just before it hits a three way stop (Dugualla Road/Taylor Road/Frostad Road), you’d see Dike Road (which runs north-south) off to your left (North). If you go Trail Running at Dugualla State Park, bring your mud shoes! It’s super duper muddy in the winter, especially along the Marsh Trail. Good luck

    • Sharlie,
      The only stroller friendly hike that I know of in the main park (west of Highway 20) is along the water (maybe a quarter to half mile) at Bowman Bay towards Rosario (and also towards Lighthouse Point). Your best, safest stroller friendly hike at DPSP is at Cornet Bay. Just park in the lot nearest the boat launch, then you can easily take your stroller along about a 3/4 mile long Road (Cornet Bay Road – just head towards the big white gate that blocks traffic from traveling along the road). At the 3/4 mi point, it becomes a paved trail that goes for another 1/4 mile. There might be a bit of gravel near the end. Once you arrive, leave the stroller and walk down to the beach (check tides first but it doesn’t have to be very low to go down there), nice sandy beach with sea glass and some shells. At very low tide, really good beach combing for unique sea creatures (we’re taking sub -2.0 feet low tide). It’s an awesome, super quiet spot. Note: on super busy summer weekends, they open the gate to allow for more parking, but it’s generally closed. You can also head north to Anacortes and take your stroller on the 2.2 mile paved path at Washington Park that is vehicle free until 10:00 am, really nice playground a short walk from the path. Plan to finish your walk before 10:00 am. Dugualla State Park is not very stroller friendly.

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