The south end of Whidbey Island is mostly rural, yet it boasts an amazing park, the South Whidbey Community Park, that sits on a vast swath of forested land. It is known by locals as Castle Park, due to the children’s playground that is full of castle tops. To find the Westling Loop, once you enter the park, head up the hill at the road’s first junction. The road winds up a short hill and ends in a paved parking area, that is shaped like a cul-de-sac. The main trailhead sits in the woods, and has a large map and trail kiosk to read. However….the actual trails are mot marked there. It was a bit odd, and jarring. And be forewarned: the map below in the photo and the online map you can print do not quite match up. There is more trails than are on it, more connectors. Take the printed map and draw in the trails from the kiosk map. However, it isn’t likely one would get terribly lost, as the trails are all short.
The nearby playground is a gem for kids, and there are clean restrooms and water by the playground, as are many picnic tables.
At the trailhead I wasn’t sure exactly which way to go so we took a right. However, lesson learned, take a left. It’s easier to not get temporarily confused about where one is. And the different colors in the map are sharing a trail when you see them next to each other, FYI.
All the trails are wide, graveled nicely and easy to walk 2 to 4 across (the trails are designed for a park vehicle to drive on). The woods are perfect for sunny days, when you want to hide in the shade.
Many birds out, native slugs puttering along, and even plenty of happy humans and a few pooches on leashes.
With plenty of benches sprinkled along the way for anyone wanting a rest. This bench sits where the trail curves along the upper soccer field. There is a trail to the left as well, it is a connector trail.
We also walked the Water Take Way trail (it doesn’t show the trail going through on one of the maps. It does).
Hence why it is called the water tank way.
We ended up doing a lower loop (don’t ask how that happened….) so in frustration we walked back the way we came, and at the main trailhead we took a left. That came to a marked junction – yes, trail signs really do help! This time we did the loop as shown and got to see the other side.
It was a very well taken care of trail. It just needs one or two more signs and it would be about perfect. I mean, even one of the park benches had a garbage can! The boys and I are planning a return trip, to hike the rest of the park’s trails, this summer.