Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: South Whidbey State Park Ridge & Fern Gully Loop

To celebrate Washington State Parks opening back up on Tuesday, the boys and I went on a dayhike to South Whidbey State Park to do the Ridge Loop trail, which ended up including the Fern Gully Trail into the loop.

The Ridge Loop Trail starts a few feet up from the start of the Wilbert Trail. The trail heads uphill immediately, but is never super steep this direction. However….in spring it has a LOT of muddy sections so I do recommend trekking poles.

Alistaire checking out a tree that grew over a long gone nurse log/stump. He could walk through it.

Pacific Starflower blanketed many sections of the forest throughout the hike.

A big shattered tree – that gets children talking!

The rain the past week or two has really helped push the green up. I hiked this trail a long time ago, when Ford was little and the ravine on my right was barely changed.

Walker was being devious trying to convince me I should let him go out to the burnt tree (far left) that was on the edge of the ravine. Not likely kiddo!

Salmonberry in bloom.

After following the ravine uphill, the trail angles and reaches the ridge. The ridge is an old logging road, and the trail is gentle along it. Dappled with sunny areas, it is peaceful up there. We passed a trail map kiosk where a park service road comes up to meet the trail. You pass the service road down far for a small bit.

We passed a birds nest up high.

As the trail started to head down a bit we reached a steep section. Well….we passed what looked like a sharp left, but what looked like a secondary trail. The “main” trail was wide. No markings. Well…apparently we should have taken that left. Oh well. We just got another section of trail in. The trail we were on was Fern Gully trail and it was steep. Very, very steep. This side was dry, the only reason I went down it. After a few steep switchbacks the trail hits the bottom.

There is a stream babbling through here and the skunk cabbage is just coming up. Lots of mud to pick through.

The trail winds through the forest and pops out at a junction for Wilbert trail, which reconnects you to the loop. A short bit down pass the side trail to the cedar tree, and a few steps later pop out onto Smuggler Cove Road, and cross over to the other side of the park.

Follow the old campground road back uphill to complete the hike, and find one’s jalopy. In the sunny weather we passed two gentle garter snakes sunning themselves. Can one blame them?

GPS put us at about 2.4 miles.

~Sarah

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