Built in 2017, the Freeland Trail is a short half mile long paved trail, alongside Hwy 525 on Whidbey Island, on the south end of the island. It only goes from Cameron Road to Fish Road, but allows pedestrians to more safely walk along the highway if needed. Which is an important addition.
The basis of this trail is simple: “Island County has a long-range “Bridge-to-boat” plan to connect the two ends of the island — Deception Pass Bridge to the Clinton Ferry Terminal — with a paved, non-motorized trail. There’s no timeline and it’s funding dependent, which means portions will only be built when money becomes available.” (See here about when the trail was started.)
But there is always a hitch, right? The next section was supposed to be from the Clinton ferry dock to the top of the hill, at Ken’s Corner. Then suddenly Island County pulled it. As always the claims is no money. But the sad truth is, an island long paved trail would bring vast tourism for bicyclists. They just have to make the jump and believe in it. The miles along Hwy 20 in central Whidbey Island are part of this dream plan (The Rhododendron Trail and The Kettles Trail). I will be writing about this more later.
But onto the Freeland Trail.
I walked to town, having not done this before. The views of the Olympic Mountains, rising above the Salish Sea, which was covered in fog, were always nice. Where we live is rural, with many homesteads and small farms.
As I strolled along the roadway it gets closer to the water, and the houses become huge, but the lots become smaller, as everyone crams in to get a small bit of beach front. I don’t live in Poorville, USA but walking here it is way too easy to feel poor. When homes are worth obscene amounts and every new home is bigger than the last, it is jarring. I will take my homestead that sees the mountains, but not the water! Because as I walked along…I was walking by a string of houses where nothing was worth less than 2 million. Most are valued far, far higher. But hey, at least us peasants are allowed to walk on their road….even as I pass a house that cost 10 million to build…and has silver faucets.
A feral Lilac tree growing along the road. This is what I love seeing.
Well, 3.66 miles later I arrived in our town of Freeland, and at the start of the Freeland Trail.
I decided it was time to stop and get a snack at Jupiter Coffee, which is handily located right off of the trail!
They make this bread pudding from…their baked scones. It’s beyond good. And I didn’t feel guilty after those miles.
But oh yeah, back to the actual trail!
The trail starts at the corner of Hwy 525 and Fish Rd, and passes a number of business and the Trinity Lutheran church, where you can park (they host a Park and Ride), along with the bus stop for Island Transit. The trail then crosses Woodard Road and ends at Cameron Road. With views of the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
It’s a mostly peaceful hike, but not satisfying due to being so short. If only it would have continued. And that is the bummer.
A last view of the mountains, the fog had burnt off. If I could have walked that field, I’d have been halfway home. But the road called and onwards.