Hiking · Local Adventures

A Loop Thru The Woods

I was feeling the need for trail time on Friday, so the boys and I worked hard on getting school done quickly for the week. Not that I am counting….but only 10 more days left of this before summer vacation starts.

We decided to work on the wooded trails off of Greenbank Farm, in Greenbank, which sits in the central part of Whidbey Island. The farm is run by the Port of Coupeville, and is free to use. The farm is a mixed use – and the old farmland is a leash free dog park as an FYI. To access the trails in the woods you can park just off of Highway 525 in the U pullout, but I wanted a longer hike, so we parked down at the farm and started off from the big red Whidbey 1904 barn. (Want to hike just the farm area?)

Looking back at the farm, which is somewhat visible (the barn is in the middle), and across the water (which is the top of Holmes Harbor) and to another section of the island. The Cascade Mountains are in the far distance, rising above Camano Island. The weather was unsettled, with rain coming. The sun poked out eventually but it was humid from the rain all last week.

We headed out from the farm and crossed the fields, randomly picking trails, heading west towards the highway. Once we did, we hooked north and followed the trail above the highway till we met up with the junction for the wooded trails. We followed the perimeter trail on the farm side (which is a wide “trail” that follows the old fenced line). There are a couple of entrances into the forested part and we picked the second one. There is a map shown that is woefully out of date (2006) but it gives you an idea. The trail isn’t marked with any name on this end, but it is the Middle Farm Trail.

The trail heads to the left at a junction not far from the start. It rambles through various forest settings, and mostly is heading west-ish towards the highway.

Wild roses in bloom.

The trail comes to a marked “T” trail junction. South Loop Trail goes both left and right. Head right. Left goes to the highway, to the U pullout. The trail is pretty here and wanders through open forest.

An understory full of Salal, Evergreen Huckleberry and Red Huckleberry. Hemlock and Douglas Firs, with some Cedar.

Ruby red Salmonberries. At the perfect ripeness.

Walker….slowing down to a tiny crawl. The Salmonberry bushes were up to 14 feet high and bending over from the heavy berry load.

This area has a lot of moisture, so was rich in green growth. Mind the stinging nettles…..

Nootka wild roses.

We came to a junction, where the trail turns into the North Loop Trail, which heads east then north, back to the highway. At the same junction was East Farm trail, which we turned right on. The trail goes up and down and comes to a “T” junction not far. Take a right (left heads to homes outside of the farm). The east trail heads downhill quickly, in a dry forest that desperately needs thinning. It’s a dark section of forest, littered with old dead branches on the ground and pine cones…….

Found in the woods. Someone has kept themselves busy. They also built a giant heart. We found a painted rock tucked into a rotting stump not far away.

We came out of the woods near the ponds and into a mosquito fest due to the water. The easiest way out is to go left, and through a fence opening. This puts you out on the perimeter trail, take a right and (quickly) head through a boggy area, with wood slabs in the mud, where the ponds overflow (though you can’t see them in the woods from here). Head up the perimeter trail and take a left where ever you like, to head back down to the farm.

One note: Stay above the farming area full of greenhouse/hoop tunnels. One section of trail is closed but VERY poorly marked (it is signed far down, so one would have to walk back uphill and go far around….it needs a sign much farther back north, so people don’t walk down to that trail). That trail is visible in the photo.

Other random things: Cell service is notoriously low by the barn and buildings. Go up a few feet into the fields for service. There are two electric car chargers, which are free to use. I was bummed as both were occupied so I didn’t get to charge my car while hiking. But hey, first come, first served and it is cool in a way to see more electric cars out there

~Sarah

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