In May the boys and I hiked part of the South Whidbey Trustland Trails, and recently we revisited it to finish the other trails. New trails have been cut and finished since then.
Tucked just off Hwy 525, south of the village of Bayview on Whidbey Island is the Trustland Trails, run by South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District.
The history of the area: “This 200-acre property has been in State ownership since 1895 as part of the State’s “trust lands.” In 2004, Whidbey Camano Land Trust, a local non-profit organization, coordinated an effort to place this property on the DNR transfer list. Public support was gathered from all over Whidbey Island. The transfer was approved in 2006 as part of a package of properties in Island County. The property was appraised by DNR at $3.8 million in May 2007. Funding was approved by the legislature in early 2007, and the property was officially transferred to the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District June 30, 2007. The ADA trail and picnic shelter along with a paved parking lot are accessible from Craw Road.”
See here for the newest map, that is up to date. They have added maps now at the trail connections on red, yellow and orange letting you know where you are. This helps a lot with the lack of signage I saw in May’s trip.
We started at the trailhead, and took the trail to the far right (closest to the highway), that passes a large reader board and a horse tie-off area. It is marked “Connector Trail”. This is the green trail on the map.
The trail starts off in a world of heavily loaded Evergreen Huckleberries, and yes, it is OK to pick personal use amounts here. The forest is open and a joy to walk in here.
As the trail winds up and down, the forest is pine trees and Evergreen Huckleberries. It is sunlit. A very peaceful section of woods. You will pass a trail to the left, the purple one on the map, that connects back to the trailhead.
Walker in his element.
The fungi is incredible this year locally.
The Connector trail winds around, and eventually dead ends at the Wellington School property, and takes a sharp left uphill to go back into the park. This is the orange trail on the map, the original mainline trail.
Walk the well groomed trail, passing a trail to the left (red on the map) and continue on. We did orange and then turned onto the last turn (the yellow trail) and headed uphill to make the loop.
At the top of the hill, there is a wide “Y”. The main trail goes to the left, to the right is the new overlook trail (on the map the yellow with dashes).
The short side trail winds uphill to a lookout over a steep ravine below. The trail isn’t quite finished, but is functional. Ravines in the woods are a hallmark of the island.
Back on the main trail (yellow), we passed the connector trail (red) and kept on the yellow trail.
There is nothing quite like a sunny (and dry) mid Fall hike in the woods.
The yellow trail ends at the ADA loop trail. You can go left or right here, they both go back to the trailhead (blue on the map). We passed a painted rock, Alistaire grabbed it and rehid it down the trail.
We did about 1.7 miles, with not a lot of gain or loss. Although the connector trail does have a steep section, as does the red and yellow trails. If you need friendly trail stay on the blue and orange trails for minimal gain.
The area is free to use, no passes needed.