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Washington State Parks

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USA Parks
The Islands Region
Deception Pass State Park
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Deception Pass State Park © Manjit Iqbal
Deception Pass State Park On Deception Pass © Mark Flynn
Cross the bidge going west and turn right at Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park Deception Pass © Mark Flynn
Deception Pass bridge spanning the tidal race. taken from a beach in Deception Pass State Park.
Deception Pass State Park Deception Pass Bridge © Darlene Lundstrum
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park Strawberry Lake/Deception Pass State Park © Darlene Lundstrum
Deception Pass State Park © John Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © John Hartman
This was taken from Rosario Resort at Deception Pass
Deception Pass State Park © John Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park © Brenda Hartman
Deception Pass State Park Sunset © Darlene Lundstrum
Deception Pass State Park Relaxing on the beach © Darlene Lundstrum
Availability Search
41020 State Route 20
Oak Harbor, Washington   98277
(lat:48.3971 lon:-122.6545) map location
Deception Pass State Park is a 4,134-acre marine and camping park with 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline, and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. Rugged cliffs drop to meet the turbulent waters of Deception Pass. The park is outstanding for breath-taking views, old-growth forests and abundant wildlife.

Nature of the Area

History of the Area
The human history of the park dates back thousands of years, when the first people settled in the areas now known as Cornet Bay, Bowman Bay and Rosario. Eventually, the land was settled by the Samish and the Swinomish. They lived on the land until the early 1900s.

During his Northwest coastal explorations, Captain George Vancouver became the first European to identify the area near Whidbey Island as a passage, which he named "Deception Pass." A 1925 act of Congress designated the property for public recreation purposes. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built roads, trails, buildings and bridges to develop the park.

The name "Deception Pass" derived from Captain Vancouver's realization that what he had mistaken for a peninsula was actually an island. He named that island "Whidbey" in honor of his assistant, Joseph Whidbey, who was at his side when Vancouver realized the mistake. The captain named the inlet at which he was anchored "Deception Pass" to commemorate the error.
A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to Washington state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
The park has 167 tent sites, 143 utility spaces, five hiker/biker sites, two dump stations, seven restrooms (four ADA) and six showers (four ADA).

Camping is at three locations in the park; 18 tent sites and two utility sites are at Bowman Bay, two tent sites and 58 utility sites at Sunrise Resort and 147 tent sites and 83 utility sites are at Cranberry Lake. Maximum site length is 60 feet (may have limited availability).

To reserve a campsite, call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688.

Group Accommodations:There are three group camps, all primitive in nature.

Group camp 1 accommodates up to 50 people. It has fire circle, picnic shelter, vault toilet and five tent pads. It provides two adirondack (three-sided) sleeping shelters that combined sleep 16 people.

Group camp 2 accommodates 25 people. It has fire circle, picnic shelter, five picnic tables, and vault toilet. It provides one adirondack shelter that sleeps eight.

Group camp 3 has the same facilities and capacities as group camp 2 with the exception of the picnic shelter.

Fees vary with size of the group. To reserve, call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688.
1. Deception Pass State Park offers several swimming options in its freshwater lakes and saltwater areas.
2. Cranberry Lake is a popular spot for swimmers, with shallow waters suitable for children.
3. The lake also has designated swim areas marked by buoys to ensure safety.
4. For more adventurous swimmers, the park's beaches provide access to Puget Sound's colder saltwater environment.
5. Rosario Beach and Bowman Bay are two such beach locations within the park ideal for ocean swims.
6. The water currents can be strong so caution should always be taken when swimming in these spots.

The Cornet Bay launch is open in winter.

The park provides five saltwater and three freshwater boat ramps, plus 710 feet of saltwater dock and 450 feet of freshwater dock. All motors are prohibited on Pass Lake, and only electric motors are allowed on Cranberry Lake.

A daily watercraft launching permit and a trailer dumping permit may be purchased at the park.

Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available.

The park also offers 1,980 feet of saltwater moorage. A boat pumpout facility is located at Cornet Bay.

Moorage fees are charged year round for mooring at docks, floats and buoys from 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. Daily and annual permits are available. For more information, call (360) 902-8844.
Anglers can enjoy saltwater fishing for salmon, flounder and crab. Freshwater options include trout in Cranberry Lake.

In the park's waters, you'll find lingcod and greenling.

Fishing from shore or boat is allowed with a valid license.

Crabbing season typically runs July to September.

The park provides four kitchen shelters with electricity and six without, all of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Fifty sheltered and 261 unsheltered picnic tables are also provided. Picnic tables are first-come, first-served, but kitchen shelters are reservable by calling (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688.
Biking enthusiasts can explore miles of trails, though caution is advised due to steep inclines and rugged terrain.

The park's North Beach area offers a relatively flat trail for less experienced riders.

For more adventurous cyclists, the Goose Rock Summit Trail provides challenging uphill paths with rewarding views at its peak.

Remember that helmets are mandatory in Washington State; safety should be your top priority when biking these trails.

It's important to note some areas may not permit bikes - always adhere to posted signs and regulations.

In winter months or after heavy rainfalls, certain routes might become too slippery or muddy for safe cycling.

Be aware of wildlife on the pathways as well - respect their space while enjoying yours!

Lastly, ensure you have ample water supply before setting off on any bike journey within this beautiful location!
1. Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail: A 2-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the bay and beach, with opportunities for bird watching.

2. Lighthouse Point/Pass Island Trails: These trails offer stunning panoramic views of Deception Pass Bridge and surrounding waterways; they are moderately challenging due to steep inclines.

3. Goose Rock Summit Trail: This is a moderate difficulty 1 mile hike leading up to the highest point in Whidbey Island offering breathtaking vistas over Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, Mount Baker and more.

4. North Beach Sand Dunes Loop Trail: An easy walk along sandy beaches featuring beautiful coastal scenery including driftwood formations on North Beach's shoreline.

5. West Hoypus Hill Nature Loop: It's an approximately three miles long forested hiking path which includes old-growth trees as well as ferns undergrowth providing hikers with serene woodland experience.

6. East Hoypus Point Natural Forest Area: The area has multiple interconnected paths totaling around five miles where you can enjoy lush greenery while exploring different routes each time.

7. Discovery Interpretive Hiking Path: This one:mile-long educational route provides information about local flora & fauna through interpretative signs making it perfect choice for families or novice nature enthusiasts.

8. Cornet Bay:Goose Rock Perimeter Route: Approximately six-miles round trip trekking course encircling entire park boundary showcasing diverse landscapes from rocky shorelines to dense forests.

9. Little Deadman's island Accessible only during low tide this short but unique trail leads towards small isolated landmass surrounded by tidal pools teeming with marine life.

10. Deception pass Headlands Trial: Roughly two:and-half mile journey starting at west beach parking lot going all way till north bridge viewpoint passing through rugged cliffs overlooking turbulent waters below.
Nature Programs
A historical interpretive center is located in the park at Bowman Bay. The interpretive center building was originally constructed as a bathhouse, and was renovated by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumni volunteers in 1987 to commemorate the legacy of the CCC in Washington State Parks. It's open year-round for group tours (by appointment only) and to individuals from mid-May through Labor Day. Contact the park at (360) 675-2417 for the center's hours.

An observation deck overlooks the Cranberry Lake wetlands on the west-beach sand-dunes interpretive trail. Signage explains local vegetation and ecosystems.

The Maiden of Deception Pass story pole is located on Rosario Beach in the north section of the park. It depicts a story of the Samish Indian Nation.

The park contains one monument, located at the south bridge parking lot. It describes the discovery and naming of Deception Pass and Whidbey Island.

Lectures and slide shows occur frequently on weekend evenings in the park's outdoor amphitheater. A schedule of planned events is posted at the ranger contact station.
The park offers birdwatching opportunities with over 174 species recorded. Species include Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and Black Oystercatchers. Other birds sighted are Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets. The area is also home to various owl species like Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 19 Beautiful park, but obnoxious generators by Fred J
park review stars; one to five Very nice and private camping spots. But we had a neighbor who ran his noisy generator the whole day starting a 8:00 AM. This completely ruined our wilderness experience. Could I recommend two things: 1. The rangers should run a noise test on generators before they come into the campground. Note that portable noise testers starts at $130.00... Forbid entry to anyone not meeting National Park Service (NPS) noise levels. These levels are 60 db at 50 feet( per 36CFR2.12) 2. Have a separate camping area for people who insist using generators. It works very well at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah! So there are precedents! It can be done. I hope that something is done before very ugly confrontations arise...
April 21 Our go to park by Morgan
park review stars; one to five My husband and I absolutely LOVE the park. Great camping, fabulous trails, and breathtaking views!! We take our three children and they have a blast every time! As for the air traffic... GO NAVY!!! There only doing there job = )
October 28 absolutely gorgeous by parker
park review stars; one to five Stunning views from all over the park. It is even beautiful if cloudy. Highly recommended.
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Located nine miles north of Oak Harbor, Wash. and nine miles south of Anacortes, on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.

From Seattle : Drive north on I-5 to exit 230, then travel 18 miles west on SR 20 toward Oak Harbor. Park entrance is on right, one mile south of Deception Pass Bridge.

From the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry : Drive north on Hwy. 525, which changes to Hwy. 20. Drive 50 miles to park entrance on left.

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Washington State Parks