Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Bluff Trail-Kettles Loop

Fort Ebey State Park sits in the central section of Whidbey Island, just outside of Coupeville, but close to Oak Harbor. Years ago I hiked all the trails there with my oldest son, him strapped into a jogger stroller. Since we moved back to Whidbey Island, I hadn’t gotten back here much, and it clicked into my mind that this would make a spring goal – to rehike the trails of Fort Ebey and the Kettles Trail System next door. When Ford and I walked it, it was around 30 miles of trails, now it is over 35 miles with the park and trail system combined.

Park at the Gun Battery parking lot (the main lot, before the campground). Head up the hill to the top of the bluff, and pass the gun battery, or walk through it.

Looking across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympc Mountains across the water.

The trail starts on the back of the battery, which is the Bluff Trail. It is also the PNT (Pacific Northwest Trail) as it crosses the park.

The Bluff Trail wanders along the bluff, with panoramic views to be had. There are a couple sections that have been rerouted in over the years, as the bluff has had erosion issues. This section of trail is quite busy on weekends.

Looking down the island, with Ebey’s Landing in the near distance. If you time it right you can see Mount Rainier across the water (between the mainland in the distance and the Olympics to the far right). The ferry boats are often visible and shipping boats ply the water.

The trail jigs into the forest and ends at the trail to the group camping site. Turn onto Waterline and follow it a short distance. It crosses the dirt road to the group campground, then continues on downhill a short distance to the road for Point Partridge (which is a loop).

We walked down on Cedar Hollow trail a bit for the views and then backtracked.

At the end of the road sits a privy and a picnic table. Right next to it. Ewwwww.

We headed downhill on the road and walked it to the junction for the Kettles Trail, and took a left on.

This section of the Kettles follows a ravine for awhile (above it) then regains all the elevation you lost before. One thing to note: It has a lot of Rhododendron bushes along the trail and in the ravine. They are native to the island.

The trail ends at the campground, follow any of the side paths back to the Bluff Trail to finish the loop.

It was not a hard, nor long hike, we did about 2.3 miles.


Discovery Pass required for parking in Washington State Parks. Dogs must be leashed.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.