Tucked away in the far Northwest corner of Whidbey Island sits a small remote section of Deception Pass State park, Hoypus Natural Forest.
When I first lived on Whidbey Island I was 16, and we had moved to the island from a city. Due to a lot of upheaval in our lives, my Dad shut his business down, we sold off most of what we owned and moved to a rural island. Due to the cult I was raised in, we at least had a place to live. One of the local people had an old house that was in the family and no one was living in it, as they were doing missionary work in Asia. It was a tiny house 10 miles from town and there was no transit bus to catch, nor a car for me to drive. There was however across the street the head of Cornet Bay, Goose Rock and Deception Pass State Park. It was a part of my life that stuck with me. It sucked but we survived. Lived in a dump, surrounded by the glory of PNW nature. It was wasted on me. As with most things involving the youth.
With nothing else to do – cable tv? It didn’t exist there. And I was 11 years from having internet…….I walked a lot. Up and down the road. Till I had a Mansplainer™ State Trooper stop me one day and tell me how I as a teen girl shouldn’t be walking by herself. Because apparently men couldn’t handle themselves outside of state parks. After that my Dad forbid me from walking there – and I lectured me I couldn’t go down the road beyond the marina (it was open to traffic the whole way then). I was pretty safe there so it stung. I had lived in a city, hanging out with anarchist squatters for a couple of years. A drunk fisherman was nothing. But I digress. So it came that I never visited Hoypus Point in those years. Because I was a fragile female who should be afraid of the woods (this was a theme I fought against until I hit my late 20’s and put my foot down).
Drove by this year and saw the old house. A newer big house was built on the land a long time ago. The old house is missing half the place, and the windows are gone. I’d like to hope I have aged better than that sad little home.
The two entrances are the end of Cornet Bay Road, at the marina, and at the end of Ducken Road (which gets one into the loops on the hill much faster – however the parking is tiny up there). There are a number of hikes one can do there, including a number of loops up on Hoypus Hill. We choose to explore the closed Cornet Bay Road trail. Over the years the road has earned itself two gates, slowly closing and backing up.
That isn’t a bad thing. It’s now a great walking path.
Directions: From Hwy 20 turn onto Cornet Bay Road and follow it to the end of the road, where there is ample parking, including a huge upper lot. However, on big fishing weekends it can be full due to the boat launch. A Discover Pass is required. Dogs must be leashed. Walk to the gate and go around and start the hike.
It’s easy walking, though I’d skip this walk on cold days. It has a lot of green on the pavement, so would be icy if below freezing. The views though are so worth it.
The two spans of Deception Pass Bridge, with Strawberry Island in the front, and Pass Island in the distance (with the bridges). The trail has plenty of open spots to enjoy views of the bridge.
If no selfie, were you even there?
The second gate is met at 3/4 of a mile in, as you crest the top of the elevation gain (it’s never steep, but you do gain a small bit). The parking lot is to the right, and is a mess of old cut logs, drainage culverts and old rusty gates. On the left sits a pile of stacked moldering picnic tables.
The landscaping rocks and bollards mark where the road slumped in the past, that led to the lower part being closed first. Continue on to head downhill to the point. The trail to Hoypus Hill goes off to the right, into the forest.
At the end of the road, at Hoypus Point. There exists a park bench to sit and watch the water, and in sunny weather, the Cascade Mountains, including Mount Baker, to the rightish. It’s a gentle 1/4 mile downhill from the last gate.
What remains of the ferry landing. The ferry went away in 1935 after the Deception Pass Bridge was completed and opened. Mt. Erie is shrouded in the low clouds across the water, on Fidalgo Island.
This tiny beach has some of the nicest sand.
In the distance are Kiket Island (on the left), and Hope Island State Park (on the right). Behind it is La Conner in the far distance.
Concrete steps take one down to the beach at the point. The seawall on the point was built heavy.
The hike back goes quickly once you pass the upper parking lot, as it is gentle downhill. The views are even better when returning, as the bridge and water are in your vision.
The trail has a couple park benches thoughtfully located in spots with excellent views. Take a break and contemplate life.
I for one am simply happy I finally got out there and enjoyed a hike I had long wanted to do.
2 miles round trip, with minimal elevation gain. Wheelchair friendly with help, though the gating could cause an issue.