South Whidbey Island: South Whidbey State Park, Hidden Beach, & Trillium Community Forest
On yet another rainy day up here (actually the first in awhile), my husband and I set out to explore South Whidbey Island together. A few months back on a rainy day I had wandered around these parks before but sometimes it’s fun to go back again with someone else. Puts a new perspective on an old place.
Our first stop was at the Little Red Hen Bakery in Coupeville. We had a brown paper bag full of hot, fluffy, powdered-sugar drenched beignets. They were not Café du Monde but were arguably on the same continuum as those delicious fried pastry blobs.
After fueling up, we drove down to South Whidbey State Park. This park boasts western hemlock, western red-cedar, douglas fir, and sitka spruce trees. There is even a 500 year-old cedar. The last time I visited, the path down to the beach had been closed for protection of either the forest, the beach, or the trail. I can’t remember why it was closed, but this time the beach access trail was open. This downhill trail takes you through a peaceful forest with peekaboo views of the water. Beware that this trail ultimately ends much lower down at a sprawling beach, so you will have to walk back up the trail to get back to the parking lot. At the beach we saw a bald eagle perched on the shore. You don’t realize just how big those birds are until you see them up close.
After walking down and up from the beach, we wandered through the Ridge Loop Trail across the street. When the jets aren’t flying and cars aren’t driving by (the road isn’t visible but is nearby), you almost feel like you’re immersed in a magical forest miles away from civilization. A dirt trail meanders up and down beneath the canopy of ancient trees, sheltering a dense undergrowth of ferns. It’s truly a peaceful place.
Next on the agenda was Hidden Beach, a beach that few know about due to it’s secretive location. This beach has views of Camano Island, and when we visited two bald eagles were sitting on the shore. You can sit and watch wildlife, take a kayak out for a paddle, or watch the cargo ships cruise by. This beach is also very near to Greenbank Farm, a semi-working farm with allegedy delicious wines and pies.
Last up, we went for another forest walk through the Trillium Community Forest. These 721 acres of quiet woods lie slightly obscure to the public on a poorly marked driveway right off of 20. In 2010, it was destined for development but the community raised enough money to protect it and turn it into the sanctuary it is now. Miles of trail weave through dense forest and lush undergrowth. I didn’t take any pictures both times I visited this park but I would highly recommend it!