Hike of the Week:
December 17, 2007
Location: Whidbey Island, near Coupeville
Distance: 3.5 mile loop with opportunities to extend
Elevation: trailhead sea level'; 200' gain & loss
We were inspired by December's photo gallery cover shot of Parego's Lagoon to feature this hike to Ebey's Landing this week. Then we read past Trip Reports, all effusive in describing this area's stark beauty. This would be an excellent hike to take visiting family over the holidays.
This little preserve, tucked away in a rainshadow on Whidbey Island, has a bit of everything (except mountains and snow). Panoramic views of mountains and water. Twisted driftwood and old gnarled trees. Rare plants. Gray whales and shipping activity in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Bald eagles, hooded mergansers, harlequin ducks, and even something called an alligator lizard. And a rich cultural heritage that has compelled Congress to permanently protect and fund the heart of Ebey's Landing and provide for long-term stewardship.
Now that you're properly inspired, go there. The best way to hike the loop is to go counter-clockwise, up the bluff and back down via the beach. On clear days, the bluff provides a 180 degree panoramic view of the Olympic Peninsula and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mt. Rainier, and the rolling farmland and prairie of Whidbey Island.
After about 1.5 miles, drop down a very steep trail to the far end of Parego's Lagoon. Beware that this drop can be slippery and difficult for the very young or old. The return is a wonderful stroll south on the strip of beach between Admiralty Inlet and the lagoon.
For those who want to extend their hike, at lower tides you can wander north along the beach as well.
For more information:
- Nature Conservancy (206) 343-4344
- Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades, by Joan Burton, Mountaineers Books
- Search Hiking Guide and Trip Reports for Ebey's Landing.
Ebey’s Landing can be reached from state Highway 20 (on Whidbey Island) by turning south on Main Street in Coupeville. This road turns into Engles road as you head out of town. Turn right on Hill road, follow this road through trees and then down a hill where you see a view of Ebey’s bluff in front of you. Park in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.