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Goose Rock

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One of the highest points on Whidbey, Goose Rock offers the closest thing to "mountain climbing" on the island. Though not exactly a lofty summit, Goose Rock gives spectacular and far-reaching views. From open grassy slopes and mossy rocky ledges, bask in sunshine while catching a gander of a gaggle of surrounding peaks and islands.

With over three million annual visitors, Deception Pass is Washington's most popular state park. It was created during the Great Depression, but great elation is what you'll feel after taking to this park's trails. Over 40 miles of them traverse the 4000-plus-acre park. Many trails were developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Park staff and volunteers continue maintenance of these well-trodden paths while retaining their original charm.

Start by hiking 0.2 mile through old-growth forest, climbing about 100 feet to the Deception Pass Bridge. Built in 1935 as a Public Works Administration (PWA) project, the attractive 976-foot steel cantilever bridge along with its sister, 511-foot steel-arched Canoe Pass Bridge, are two of the most photographed structures in the state. Marvel at them and then down below at the turbulent waters funneling though Deception Pass.

Admire, too, the view out to Deception Island and the rugged headlands comprising the pass.

Hike under the bridge and come to a junction. The trail right, the Northwest Goose Rock Summit Trail is your return route. Head left down the Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, taking in more views of the pass as well as of Strawberry and Ben Ure islands. The latter was named for a notorious human trafficker.

At 0.5 mile ignore a side trail right. At 1 mile, along water's edge, ignore a side trail left and begin to climb. Ascend about 150 feet up a grassy ledge above sparkling Cornet Bay. Check out all of the handsome madronas (arbutus if you're Canadian) clinging to the sunny hillside. Then lose all that elevation, dropping back to sea level and a well-signed trail junction.

Take the trail right, the one marked Goose Rock Summit Trail-the one that immediately begins climbing steeply. Twisting and turning and gaining over 400 feet in 0.4 mile, reach Goose Rock's open summit. An unsigned but obvious side trail veers left 0.1 mile to a series of open ledges, granting excellent viewing. Look north to Mount Erie, west to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, and the San Juan Islands, and south to Rainier rising above a rolling Whidbey countryside. Watch fighters take off from the nearby naval air base.

Once through gazing, return to the main trail and turn left. Ignore a side trail right and another one heading left shortly afterward. Then descend quickly, coming to a familiar junction at the Deception Pass Bridge. The trailhead is 0.2 mile to the left. You know the way from here.
Driving Directions:

From Burlington (exit 230 on I-5) head west on State Route 20 for about 12 miles to a major junction with SR 20 Spur. Turn left, continuing on SR 20 and coming to the Deception Pass Bridge in 6 miles. One mile beyond, at a traffic light, turn right into Deception Pass State Park. Proceed past the park entrance station and in 0.4 mile turn right at a junction (signed for North Beach). Continue another 0.7 mile to a large parking area and the trailhead (elev. 50 ft). Privy and water available.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 29 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Goose Rock, Deception Pass Headlands - Rosario Head - Lighthouse Point — Apr 02, 2014 — geezerhiker
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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There are feeble signs of spring at Deception Pass. I hiked Goose Rock and Lighthouse point on this...
There are feeble signs of spring at Deception Pass. I hiked Goose Rock and Lighthouse point on this partly-sunny morning.

I did not meet any hikers on Goose Rock, but there were two fishermen and six hikers on the Lighthouse Point trail.

All trails are in very good condition.

P. S. It's good to be hiking in Washington again.

(See pictures below)
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Goose Rock — Apr 01, 2014 — Bob and Barb
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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We hiked the 2.5 mile loop hike described in Craig Romano's "Day Hiking Central Cascades". The sunny...
We hiked the 2.5 mile loop hike described in Craig Romano's "Day Hiking Central Cascades". The sunny day with very little wind and the many spring wildflowers made this a very pleasant hike. We shared the view from Goose Rock with only 6 other hikers! Oregon grape, small-flowered blue-eyed Mary, small-flowered yellow monkey-flower, saxifrage, red paintbrush, popcorn flowers, red flowering currant, yellow desert parsley, and kinnickinnick were flowers seen.
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Goose Rock — Mar 31, 2014 — Eric Jain
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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Reached the parking lot at the south end of the bridge at 11am. Busy as expected, but plenty of open...
Reached the parking lot at the south end of the bridge at 11am. Busy as expected, but plenty of open spots.

Hiked a clockwise loop. The trail was in good condition, and not too crowded.

Noticed some wildflowers, and some wildlife, including a Bald Eagle, and several snakes along the drier sections of the trail.

Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/eric.jain/GooseRockMarch2014
Tracklog: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/471433157
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Goose Rock — Mar 21, 2014 — MyOwnDamnedEve
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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We saw children and dogs, though most of the children seemed to keep to the Beach trails, as they we...
We saw children and dogs, though most of the children seemed to keep to the Beach trails, as they were much less steep. Dogs, however, we saw along the upper/summit trail and they seemed to be doing fine.

We saw many people with walking sticks or climbing/trekking poles, and I certainly wish I had brought mine. I was quite winded in several spots, and walking became a chore on those sections; as the ascent was so rapid, over so short a distance.

I have many more things to say about this beautiful hike, but it is late, and I must come back to it, I fear I wore myself out, hiking most every branch and off-shoot of this trail, Part of the Pacific Northwest Trail that is included in this area, and the North Beach Trail, as well, today!

No major issues, incredible views, a great day trip hike, with what I would rate as an easy to a more difficult walk/climb depending on which of the trials you choose. I'll update asap.
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Goose Rock — Feb 02, 2014 — Mindy
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes
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The views were lovely. The meadow area at the summit of Goose Island is beautiful, and the trail dow...
The views were lovely. The meadow area at the summit of Goose Island is beautiful, and the trail down was fun - lots of switchbacks and pretty views of the little cove. It was a good hike to do with the kids because of the short length and the views. We also saw several P3s from the Navy Base, which the kids loved. There was some mud on the trail, but not too bad. All of the dogs we came across were leashed, which was greatly appreciated. There was a seal swimming around under the bridge.
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Goose Rock.jpg
Coming over Goose Rock summit. Photo by Janice Van Cleve.
Location
Puget Sound and Islands -- Whidbey Island
Washington State Parks
Statistics
Roundtrip 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain 350 ft
Highest Point 400 ft
Features
Coast
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Central Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (Burton - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails: Deception Pass/Anacortes Community Forest Lands No. 41S

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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48.4033833333 -122.647466667
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