Just South of Coupeville, Washington on Whidbey Island sits an Island County park, Rhododendron Park. I had never visited it, mostly due to lurid tales back in the day. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the small campground at the park had a not so savory reputation. However, times change and with Covid the campground has been shut down since early 2020. It is open for hiking, dog walking and on the far side the playground and ball fields are open as well. To experience the park for our first time we chose the Rhodie Trail, which is the old park road, that runs across the middle of the park. There are two ways to access the trail. First option is to turn onto the Park Road where WAIF (the animal pound) is. There is a parking area for a number of cars where the road is gated (this first gate is to shut the campground to vehicles, a tiny bit farther down is the next gate, which is the official start of the trail). The second access is off of Patmore Road. Coming off of Hwy 20 near the OLF Nas Whidbey field, you will pass a parking lot/access to the ball fields and playground. Just a bit farther down the road is a U shaped pull thru, with room for a couple of vehicles to park. This is the start of the trail, at the large gate.
The Rhodie Trail is .9 of a mile long, from the gate at Patmore to the gate at the end of the trail. To the other parking area it nearly rounds up to a mile. It makes for a nice round trip.
The elevation gain is minimal, though you do gain a tiny bit going from Patmore to the Highway. You can click on the link above for the park to print this map.
The trail starts off with an open forest, and yes, the road is paved the whole way. If you have a stroller, or small children, this is a great trail for them. Or anyone with walking issues, the trail is smooth and wide. Bring everyone!
Rhododendron is the Washington State flower. And it is just starting to open here, most of the show is still going to happen.
The trail winds thru the park, and passes a number of side loops.
More rhodies, the forest was thick with them.
We eventually reached the closed campground (and it is very pretty), then came to the last gate.
It’s not a long walk, but it is relaxing and quite pretty in mid spring.
Free to use, no parking permits needed.
This park sits just outside of the OLF. Most of the time the area is very quiet. If the planes are doing touch and go’s, it will be very very very very loud as they fly over on their loop over the Ebey Prairie. You can park along Keystone Hill Road, one road over and watch the planes do their magic, right in front of the runway. I love watching it. But then go home and glad I no longer live under a Navy flight path (I lived under one for 13+ years). If concerned, you can find the flight times posted online.
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