Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Rhododendron Trail

The Rhododendron Trail was built during the time I was not living on Whidbey Island. It was an extension of the Kettles Trail, that winds along Hwy 20. Where the Kettles Trail ends in Coupeville, at the traffic light in town, the Rhododendron Trail continues on heading South down the island. It starts by the C-store and ends at Waif animal shelter, a shy 1.6 miles later. You can start at either end.

For our hike we started at the Waif animal shelter, on the corner of Hwy 20 and Park Road. There is ample parking at the Rhododendron Park parking lot just a tiny distance down the road. Or you can park in town, just off the highway, at the park and ride, in front of the town elementary school.

The first thing we saw as we stepped on the trail? The Washington State flower in bloom!

The first section of the trail goes thru forest, is open and sunny, and you don’t notice the highway next to you. This section is very pretty.

There is one house you walk by, but otherwise it is just the open forest.

Soon you cross Jacobs Road, and the trail opens up. You pass a large farm area, which used to be a massive lavender farm back in the day. The next road you cross is Terry Road. Be careful here, it is the only road that is used a lot that you cross. Look both ways.

The trail winds along with the road nearby, but it isn’t unpleasant. By Coupeville most of the traffic stops, and the farther south you go, the less cars.

After Terry Road there are no more road crossings.

Farm land and on clear days, you will see the Olympic Mountains rising above the Salish Sea off in the distance.

The final section, as Coupeville comes into view, and it opens up to views of the area. The Olympic Mountains are to the left (out of the picture). The pedestrian bridge over Hwy 20 is in the center. Old town Coupeville, and Penn Cove, is to the right. The C-store is at the intersection near the bridge, so you know you are nearly done. Just one wooden bridge to cross, and see if there are any trolls living under….

The Rhododendron Trail is free to use, and parking is free on both ends. The trail is open to multiple users: humans, dogs, horses and bicyclists. Elevation gain is minimal, the path is fully paved and level.


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