Spending time in outdoor spaces is important to maintain mental and physical health, especially during this public health crisis. New “Recreate Responsibly” guidelines were just established by a statewide coalition to offer a starting point for getting outside and enjoying nature https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/

 

Discover the many incredible places in our own backyard within the 66 square miles and 57 miles of shoreline that make up the district boundaries of South Whidbey Fire/EMS.

Here’s a round-up of just a few beautiful spots to explore:

Trails

 

Trees near Organic Farm School – photo credit Sherrye Wyatt

Maxwelton Trustland Trail System: Now owned by South Whidbey Parks and Recreation, the 200-acre forested property includes a large mature forest and riparian corridors and is important for drainage control and water quality. The property has a 1.5 mile multi-use trail and an ADA-accessible loop trail.

Putney Woods/Metcalf Trail System: More than 600 acres of forest and 15 miles of trail make this a destination for horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers. Island County owns Putney Woods and maintains the park with help from the Backcountry Horsemen Island County Chapter. From the picnic tables scattered throughout, to the brushed back trails and spacious trail head parking lot, these three connecting trail systems reflect the pride, enthusiasm and commitment of local volunteers who created and now maintain them.

Saratoga Woods Trail: This is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Langley that features beautiful wildflowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers activity options and is best used from March to October. Enjoy a forested stroll through more than 100 acres of protected forest. It is Owned and managed by Island County. Large trees, healthy understory plants, and a large glacial erratic are just a few highlights.

South Whidbey Community Park: Built by hand and expanded practically acre-by-acre over the past 15 years, approximately four miles of woodland trails in this park off Maxwelton Road may have low visibility, but they have become a popular walking and running spot. Accessed deep inside the 120-acre recreation park, the trails loop through over 40 acres of forest and on the boundary lines of the park’s new, Langley Road Sports complex. Though hardly a challenge for hikers in search of adventure, the unofficially dubbed “Park and Rec Trails” distinguish themselves with their ease of use and access, making them especially popular with runners and fitness walkers.

Goss Lake Loop: The1.6 mile trail features a lake and is good for all skill levels. Accessible year-round, it’s used primarily for hiking, walking and trail running.

Earth Sanctuary: Earth Sanctuary, near Freeland, is a magical and peaceful sculpture garden, nature reserve, and retreat center that combines ecology, art and spirit to create a unique place for personal renewal and peaceful contemplation. The 72-acre landscape includes two miles of nature trails, a unique peat bog fen complex, streams and three waterfowl ponds. Due to their importance as waterfowl habitat, the ponds and bog fen complex have been designated as a “habitat of local importance” by the Whidbey Audubon Society and Island County Critical Areas program. There’s even a retreat house you may rent to put up visiting friends or family.

 

Whidbey Institute: Located near Clinton, the four miles of trails are open to the public from dawn ’til dusk every day. You may also visit gardens, labyrinth, and woodland sanctuary. If you’re looking for a quiet space for solo contemplation, check out Hilltop Retreats.

Beaches/Water View Points

Double Bluff Beach – photo credit Sherrye Wyatt

Clinton Beach Park: Small but sweet park. Very limited parking. Two handicap parking spaces.
Wheel chair access paths to the beach.  Bathrooms, outdoor shower, picnic shelter, patio deck with tables/seating, sand pit/mound with toy trucks, beach front access and beautiful sculpture art.  Great kayak launch point.

Double Bluff Beach: Looking for a great day at the beach with the dog? Double Bluff is the place to be! Time it just right and at low tide you could walk for miles!  Double Bluff Beach is considered by many to be the best beach on the Southern end of the island, with its offering of shellfish harvest and at times total solitude. The beach tidelands themselves comprise Double Bluff State Park.

Mutiny Bay/Frank Robinson Park: Sweet little stretch of beach with ample parking for boat trailers about 200 yards away.  A small county park owned in partnership with Island County and donated by the family, Frank Robinson Park, is next to boat launch which is currently closed. It is not usable at low tide.

Maxwelton Beach/Dave Mackie Park: The boat ramp is currently closed due to buildup of sand. The 5 acre park is open. Amenities include Playground, Restroom Facility Including Shower and Dog Wash, Beach Access, Ball field & Grandstand, 3 Picnic Shelters & BBQ’s for individual events, Group Picnic Shelter Area with Brick Stove BBQ.

Holmes Harbor/Freeland Park: With a great view of Holmes Harbor, this park is a local favorite. Besides a boat ramp and dock, amenities include a picnic area with BBQ grills, covered picnic shelters, pavilion with picnic table and BBQ Grill, restrooms, playgrounds, and walking trails. This is owned in partnership with Island County.

Possession Point Beach: This newly-renovated boat launch is popular for boaters at the south end of Whidbey Island and provides access to both Saratoga Passage and Admiralty Inlet.  The Dorothy Cleveland Trail is a short hike that is fun and challenging, with plenty of elevation gain in the form of switchbacks.

Glendale Beach: With 420 feet of accessible beach, this property provides a rare opportunity for the public to enjoy this section of Possession Sound shoreline. Creosote-treated marine structures and old buildings were removed to facilitate public access. The mouth of Glendale Creek, one of only two salmon spawning creeks on Whidbey Island, is on the preserve.

Hammons Family Farm Preserve: Looking for an incredible view of Cultus Bay with a mountain backdrop? Stop by the Hammons Preserve and enjoy a short walk through open field and along the forest edge. Restoration projects have expanded the forest and removed invasive species. A wooden bridge, installed by a local high school student, crosses a small wetland.

More Boating/Fishing

Bush Point Boat Launch – photo credit Jack Penland

Bush Point boat launch: The Bush Point boat ramp is a popular launch for the west side of Whidbey Island. Amenities include a floating dock, parking nearby, and a small park.

Lone Lake: Occupying a broad meadow area two miles southwest of Langley, Lone Lake has a large WDFW access on the north shore and is open year-around. Trout fishing can vary widely from year-to-year due to cormorant predation. Table quality of the trout is best in spring and fall when the water is cooler. Use large-fish methods here: salad shrimp bait, leech wet fly patterns, and large lures.

Langley Marina: The marina features 41 slips, 330 feet of linear moorage, restrooms, showers, free Wi-Fi, and a boat ramp.  Kayaks rentals and lessons are also offered by Whidbey Island Kayaking Company.

Goss Lake: Three miles west of Langley, Goss Lake has a WDFW access on the east end of the lake. Expect fair to good fishing for recently-stocked catchable-size rainbows, with a large cutthroat trout as well. Trout size is reduced due to competing brown bullheads.

Deer Lake: One mile west of Clinton. Trout fishing for stocked Rainbow Trout and Coastal Cutthroat Trout ranging from 13 to 15 inches. Quality-size Largemouth Bass are also present. This lake is one of only two waters in Island County managed with a seasonal fishing closure. Spring catch rates for trout are highest early in the season and decline as fish are harvested and as warmer water temperatures force trout to seek areas of colder refuge. Fall is often overlooked by anglers, but can be an ideal time as fish that have been growing all summer become more active around the lake with cooler temperatures. Deer Lake has a WDFW access on the northeast corner of the lake with a gravel boat ramp and parking area.