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aerial photograph of Deception Pass State Park

Stunning Deception Pass State Park lies along 2 islands surrounded by ancient woodlands only 80 miles north of Seattle. This 4,134 acre public recreational area, located on Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island, is connected by Canoe Pass and Deception Pass bridges. This narrow waterway was named by Captain George Vancouver of England during his early exploration here.

Today this beautiful Washington state park offers visitors a chance to explore 2 islands and kayak, hike, bird watch, camp, fish, swim, and picnic.

Activities

Come spend a few relaxing days and nights inside Deception Pass State Park. This popular park is a great place to visit by yourself, with a friend, or with your whole family.

Spend a few nights in one of the large campgrounds and spend your days exploring trails, canoeing, fishing, and bird watching. And be sure to check out the park’s concessions: Campstuff Coffee brews up fresh espresso from their vintage camp trailer and Sister Sister Kettle Corn fresh kettle corn, beverages and ice cream. Both of these concessions are only open seasonally.

trail sign at Deception Pass State Park

Also, save time for a visit to the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center. The Center, located near Bowman Bay, was originally a bathhouse that was built by the CCC during the 1930s. This renovated building now houses a museum with exhibits dedicated to these hard working individuals.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Deception Pass State Park:

Boating at Deception Pass State Park

Kayak, canoe, sail,and more during your visit to Deception Pass State Park. The park features 6 boat launch ramps on Cornet Bay, 1 single lane launch on Bowman Bay, and launches on both Cranberry Lake and Pass Lake. Guests should plan ahead and be aware of possible rough conditions when launching into the saltwater areas.

For lake boaters: only hand powered boats are permitted on Pass Lake but electric motors are allowed on Cranberry Lake.

Rentals are available seasonally through Blue Otter Kayaks and tours from Bowman Bay are offered seasonally through Anacortes Kayak Tours.

rocky beach at Deception Pass State Park on a cloudy day

Hiking at Deception Pass State Park

Explore the more than 38 miles of trails that wind throughout thick woodlands, past wildflower meadows and up to breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Here are a few of the trails at Deception Pass State Park:

  • The Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail – This easy 0.8 mile trail features interpretive signs and an observation deck along its pathway.
  • Lighthouse Point Trail – A moderate 1.5 mile loop that winds through the meadow and forest and leads up to the lighthouse and spectacular views of Deception Pass bridge and surrounding islands.
  • The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail – Guests may access this extensive trail inside Deception Pass State Park. The PNT stretches for 1,200 miles from the Pacific Ocean to Montana’s Rocky Mountains.

dirt hiking trail through the woods at Deception Pass State Park

Fishing at Deception Pass State Park

Both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities are available inside Deception Pass State Park. Here you may fish for salmon, crabs, shrimp, ling cod, and more from boat or shore on Cranberry Lake and Pass Lake. Only catch-and-release fly fishing is allowed on Pass Lake. If you plan to fish during your visit remember to pick up a Washington fishing license ahead of time.

Birding at Deception Pass State Park

Grab your binoculars and take a quiet walk along the wooded trails or near the beach area. Here you will be able to observe many types of birds. Loons, gulls, grebes, Great horned Owls, nuthatches, creepers, mergansers, Winter Wrens, chickadees, and warblers are all commonly seen here.

You may also get a chance to see a Bald Eagle, kingfisher, swallow, crossbill, woodpecker, Canada Goose, Lesser Scaup, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, or a Common Goldeneye.

Nature and Wildlife at Deception Pass State Park

Take a boat tour around Deception Pass and see birds, seals, porpoises, and whales. Deception Pass Tours are offered April through September.

And be sure to visit nearby Kukutali Preserve on Kiket Island. This beautiful natural area is surrounded by thick forest and offers breathtaking views of Fidalgo, Hope, and Skagit islands. Here and in the surrounding areas you may observe deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, otters, opossum, Mountain Beaver, bobcats, goats, Red Foxes, Black Bears, Long-Tailed Weasel, Rocky Mountain Elk, and Moose.

the bridge at Deception Pass State Park

Pets

Pets are welcome in certain areas within Deception Pass State Park. Pets must be leashed, supervised and cleaned up after.

Camping

Deception Pass State Park features 172 standard campsites, 134 sites with water and electric hookups, 5 primitive hike-in or bike-in campsites, a group camping area, and 5 rustic cabins. All campsites have a table and fire ring and are near restrooms, showers and drinking water.

The campsites and cabins are scattered throughout the park within the old-growth forest and near Cranberry Lake and Quarry Pond. Many of the campsites are only available seasonally. Quarry Pond Campground is open year round. This serene camping area has a kitchen shelter and gazebo.

The group camping area, located near Cranberry Lake, accommodates up to 50 people. This site has a picnic shelter, fire circle, and a large grassy area for tents. For larger groups of up to 186 people, the park offers the Cornet Bay Retreat Center. This Center features 16 cabins, 1 duplex, a main lodge, and a Recreation Hall. The lodge and recreation building both have fully equipped kitchens.

Park Location

Deception Pass State Park
41229 State Rte 20
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360.675.3767

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Deception Pass State Park: