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.”
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.
Placards on 4×4 posts mark the trails (though not all).
A more recent map exists, which must simply have not yet been made available at the site.
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
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:
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.