Where is Deception Pass State Park Located
Located one hour and thirty minutes north of Seattle, Deception Pass State Park is located in the northwest corner of Washington. The US state park is split between two separate recreation areas on both Oak Harbor and across the water on Fidalgo Island. The park’s most notable feature is Deception Pass; a strait that separates Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island. However, Deception Pass State Park also contains several beaches, intertidal zones, hiking trails, and campgrounds. The park also contains several miles of the famous Pacific Northwest Trail, including a section that crosses over Deception Pass via a bridge on Washington state highway 20. The park is 84 miles north of Seattle, 159 kilometers south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and 70 miles west of North Cascades National Park.
How Large is Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park covers a total of over 3,800 acres. In addition to Deception Pass itself, the state park’s geography includes several beaches, acres of northwest forest, and several islands. Islands within the park’s borders include Northwest Island, Deception Island, Pass Island, Strawberry, Ben Ure, and Big and Little Deadman Islands. Deception Pass receives over two million visitors per year making it one of the most visited state parks in Washington. Hiking trails in Deception Pass State Park total over 38 miles. The park’s shoreline totals over 110,900 feet. The park’s saltwater shoreline totals around 77,000 feet and the park’s freshwater shoreline totals around 33,900 feet.
Deception Pass State Park Weather
The weather of Deception Pass State Park changes frequently throughout the year. However, the majority of days at Deception Pass are filled with cool temperatures and northwest sunshine. In summer, average temperatures in the park range between 45 - 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures in the park range between 35 - 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest temperatures in the park arrive in June, July and August, and the park’s coldest temperatures appear in December and January. On average, Deception Pass State Park receives about 90 days of rain per year. Yearly rainfall totals in the park average around 20 inches. The park occasionally receives snowfall in the Winter. On average, yearly snowfall totals about 5 inches.
When did Deception Pass Become a State Park
Deception Pass State Park was originally established in 1923. The original park possessed only 1,600 acres that was originally owned by a military reserve. In the 1930’s, the park received various updates through a relationship with the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC built roads, trails, and several buildings. Way before Deception Pass State Park and the land surrounding it were utilized by the state of Washington, the land provided a home for the Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years. The first European explorers visited the Deception Pass area in 1790.
Things to do in Deception Pass State Park
Visitors traveling to Deception Pass State Park will find a variety of activities waiting for them when they arrive. Our State Park Visitors Guide outlines the most popular adventures the park provides access to:
Visit the Interpretive Center
A visit to the interpretive center is a great way for visitors to begin their trip to Deception Pass State Park. The park’s interpretive center contains several exhibits and displays that talk about the park’s history, the Civil Conservation Corps relationship with the park, and the biological diversity of the surrounding area.
Hike the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail
The Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail is located near the Deception Pass State Park Interpretive Center. The trail provides visitors the opportunity to learn about the park’s vegetation and ecosystems. Visitors hiking the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail will find various educational displays and an observation deck.
Hike the Goose Rock Trail
The Goose Rock Trail allows visitors to traverse several miles of shoreline contained within Deception Pass State Park. The trail is frequently hiked by visitors and birders who are hoping to spot several of the park’s wildlife species. The Goose Rock Trail is 2.1 miles in length and rated as moderate.
Explore the Park’s Beaches
Deception Pass State Park contains an almost endless supply of shoreline and several beaches. These beaches often contain several tidepools and other intertidal zones that host a variety of marine creatures and interesting vegetation.
Go Mountain Biking
In addition to over 38 miles of hiking trails, Deception Pass State Park also boasts several miles of mountain biking trails. These trails are placed throughout the park and meander throughout the park’s shoreline, forests, and other ecosystems.
Deception Pass State Park provides a year-round and seasonal home to a variety of avian species. Every year, visitors flock to Deception Pass State Park to hopefully spot various species of loons, grebes, cormorants, sea ducks, and gulls. Birders at the state park may also catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, kingfisher, or other rare species.
Aside from the flocks of birds that call Deception Pass State Park home, the park also provides refuge to a variety of wildlife species. These wildlife species include woodland species such as squirrels, raccoons, and porcupines, as well as several marine mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The park consistently sees whales visit the waters around its borders.
Camping at Deception Pass State Park
Campsites at Deception Pass State Park are located in three separate locations. The total of all sites at Bowman Bay, Quarry Pond, and Cranberry Lake is 172 tent sites, 134 partial hookup sites, and five hike and bike sites. Reservations for the park’s campgrounds can be made online through the park’s website and reservation portal.
When to Visit Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park is open to visitors year-round. However, the park’s facilities observe a shorter schedule in the winter. The best time to visit Deception Pass State Park is in the summer and spring due to the seasonal weather and wildlife activity. Though, visitors looking to hike, bike, or visit the park’s beaches can really visit anytime of the year. Whale watching in the park is most popular during the winter months when the whales begin to migrate into the area.
Must Have Items to Bring to Deception Pass State Park
Every trip outdoors requires a bit of packing and planning, and a successful trip to Deception Pass State Park is no exception. List of Parks highlights below a list of essential equipment every visitor should consider bringing with them to the park.
Water and High Energy Snacks
Water and high energy snacks are two essential items visitors should bring on every state park trip. These items can prevent dehydration, low blood sugar, and sluggishness. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts should look to bring snacks like trail mix, beef jerky, and dried fruit.
Layers of Clothing
Visitors to Deception Pass State Park should arrive at the park wearing several lightweight layers. These layers will help block the wind, rain, and other environmental factors from lowering a hiker’s body temperature. One or more layers can also be removed if a visitor gets uncomfortable.
Lightweight Rain Jacket
A lightweight rain jacket is a valuable item at Deception Pass State Park. The park receives about 90 days of rain per year, and a lightweight rain jacket can allow visitors to still enjoy the day. Frequent outdoorsmen and women should look to invest in a completely waterproof rain jacket.
Birders and wildlife enthusiasts will want to remember to bring their binoculars to Deception Pass State Park. Visitors may also want to purchase a field guide specific to the Washington area. With a combination of binoculars and a field guide every visitor should be able to identify a variety of wildlife species at the park.
The best way to ensure that you remember to bring all of the necessary camping equipment to Deception Pass State Park is by creating and using a camping checklist.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
Most of the trails in Deception Pass State Park involve hiking on unstable terrain. A pair of sturdy hiking boots is recommended for any visitor who hopes to take on the park’s trail system. Lightweight, breathable, and waterproof hiking boots are the best. These pairs of boots may be more of an investment at first but will last longer and provide your feet more comfort than less superior pairs that are on the market.
Where to Stay in Deception Pass State Park
Visitors looking to stay within the borders of Deception Pass State Park will want to make a camping reservation online through the park’s website and reservation portal. During the summer season, campgrounds in the park can occasionally reach capacity. Therefore, visitors hoping to camp in the park in the summer should make reservations months in advance. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel near the park should search for options on Fidalgo and Whidbey Island.
Food Near Deception Pass State Park
The closest food to Deception Pass State Park is located in Oak Harbor or Anacortes. Hungry visitors will find various restaurants, fast food establishments, and grocery stores in each of these two towns. Oak Harbor is on Whidbey Island and Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island. The closest city to Deception Pass State Park with a larger culinary scene is Seattle. The city is about an hour and a half drive away from the park.
Airports Near Deception Pass State Park
The closest international airport to Deception Pass State Park is located in Seattle. The Seattle International Airport is about 95 miles and an hour and a half drive away from the park. The next closest international airport to the park lies in Vancouver, British Columbia.