Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Putney Woods Loop Sampler

Kirk and I took the boys and the dog out for a casual dayhike at Putney Woods on the south end of Whidbey Island, which is a few miles between Bayview and Langley.

Putney Woods is an Island County park, which is connected to Saratoga Woods (Island County Parks) and Metcalf Trust Lands (public recreation easement) by connector trails. In total there are around 15 miles of trails one can connect to make countless loops or in and outs. We opted to start at the Lone Lake Road parking lot. It is a large lot, with tons of parking and a portable toilet in the far corner. Just pay attention when driving as it is easy to fly by the lot. While it is signed, the road sign is small and brown.

The trails are not long, nor are they wilderness, but they are satisfying miles when you have only an hour or two to carve out of your day. And the trails are close in, not requiring hours to drive to, in the short days of late fall and early winter. And outside of a few cold days (like all last week), Whidbey Island is generally mild this time of year. Mid 40’s during the day, thanks to being near the open water.

Maps – which you really, really want one with you…….like any good trail system, the trails here wind back and forth, and are often close to each other.

The GPS run map, that has trail distances on it. It is printable but in “legal” format, so if you fit it to print on standard paper, you may not see the trail lines well.

The color trail map. It is easier to read than the GPS map, but has no trail distances.

Leaving the trailhead we walked into the woods and took a right on Trail of the Wild Fell.

This trail desperately needs some forestry love. It stood out oddly to the rest of the forest. Dry, full of tiny trees, many that were dead. Not my choice to walk through.

However, as we turned onto Canterberry Trail, the forest immediately changed.

Just a bit apart from Wild Fell, Canterberry was gorgeous. Tall, healthy trees, undergrowth full of Huckleberry and Salal, this trail was a treat to hike on.

Nurse logs, gowing huckleberry and moss.

We headed onto Rocky Road Trail at the end of Canterberry. The trail is pleasant walking though an area full of Alder trees.

We took a left onto Gary Putney Picnic Area. The trail wanders through pretty open woods –

And comes to the highest picnic table I have ever encountered. Almost bar height.

The trail continues on, and starts heading downhill, towards Saratoga road. We turned around as it really dipped down, right by a very old car tire, covered in deep moss.

Coming back up Rocky Road we took a right onto Whispering Pines, which cuts up and around the corner of the forest.

The trail does cross two areas of wetlands, then heads uphill and downhill a few times. This was the the only steep trail we encountered on our hike. It also had the most mud, due to said wetlands.

We came out at the end of Rocky Road (you can access Lone Lake Road from here as well), then walked down Rocky a small bit, and took a right onto Wild Fell Trail, to complete back to the trailhead.

We hiked 2.44 miles total. And saw around 8 people. (6 of which was a mom and dad and 4 children) I will take that any day over the clogged trails of King County.


Trails and parking are fee free. Leashed dog friendly.

Open to multiple users including horses and bicycles. While signs are up feeling horse riders to pack out poop, expect to have to go around a few piles.

Hear firearms? You are most likely hearing Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun club, a great range to shoot at. Sound carries across parts of the forest though.


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