Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Mulkiteo Lighthouse Park

Tucked into the bottom of the hill, on Possession Sound is the Mulkiteo Lighthouse and park. The lighthouse was there long before the park was, because the park was created when someone got the idea to fill in the water with fill to create more land. The lighthouse was built in 1906, and was connected to electricity only in 1927.

This year the Washington State Ferry system moved the dock down the water, from where it had sat for decades. The ferry used to slip in next to the park, between Ivar’s Seafood and a condo building. Now the ferry dock is nearly gone and the area is being restored. It has left the park a different place, and I love it. It’s quieter for one, being a pedestrian is safer. The ferry traffic is routed away from the area now.

For us we drive south down Hwy 525 on Whidbey Island and park at the Park and Ride by the Clinton Post Office, which is free to use. The walk to the ferry dock is all downhill and it goes quickly. There is a sidewalk on the right hand side of the highway for safety. Leaving the island is free and you walk right onto the ferry. Currently due to TSA rules you must mask on the ferry, even if you are vaccinated, as it is considered federal transportation.

Once the ferry docks, and you walk off the upper ramp, and walk down from the new building, get onto the sidewalk and walk on wide sidewalks along the ferry area. It is a pleasant walk. The train tracks are to the left. The new ferry dock ties the ferry, the commuter trains and the transit busses all together now, for the first time, making this great for those who commute to Seattle for tech jobs. Or rather, will in the near future as people return to in person. For now the crowds are still light for walk ons.

As you walk, cross the light and continue on, then jig over to Front Street, walking along and passing a hotel and Ivar’s. Get an ice cream cone to go and cross in front of the old ferry dock area and pass the condos, to enter the park. The lighthouse area is on the right and straight ahead.

Chances are the lighthouse won’t be open for inside, but the grounds are open to wander through. And it’s a lovely area to walk around and enjoy the history. There is a walking tour you can take around the park, with signs to read. It’s full of history about the area, and how the park came to be, it’s worth pulling up.

The main lighthouse keeper’s home. It was lived in until 1996.

The assistant lighthouse keeper house.

Mulkiteo Lighthouse. Whidbey Island is visible in the distance.

You can walk around the outside and head towards the boat launch area on the beach. The views across the water to Whidbey Island (you can see a ferry crossing the water, going past Hat Island, with Camano Island in the far distance) are worth just walking down to the beach.

A gravel path winds along the fence of the lighthouse land, above the beach.

Native Nootka Roses in bloom.

A Navy ship plying the waters, heading towards Whidbey (the north end of Whidbey is home to NAS Whidbey and Indian Island Naval Magazine is also another Navy area nearby, as is Bremerton, where this most likely came from).

After walking the beach, the trails and visiting the park (it is large, and very popular in summer) we headed back to the ferry dock. With the new dock walk-ons now load overhead, no longer having to walk the plank, then huffing up the stairs. This photo shows how you exit the ferry, you walk to the left and then down the stairs or the double elevator next to it. To the left is the transit bus area and beyond it is a paved pathway that walks along the water, with public dock access that is new.

The public dock to the left. The train was being pushed backwards up the hill by two engines, blowing blue smoke like crazy. The boys might have really loved watching that.

On the ferry ride back to the island we watched a loaded cargo container ship ply the waters. We had watched it round Possession Point from the Salish Sea, and was working its way around. Due to the issues with the ports, cargo ships are being anchored off of Whidbey Island at the top of Holmes Harbor (which is in Freeland, near us). The ships stay there, in safe waters, until they can go to port to unload, be it Seattle, Tacoma or Everett. Some days we have had 3 ships anchored. This one arrived to its temporary home not long after this.

Taken from Freeland Park in town, about a week or so ago.

Mt. Erie is in the distance, on Fidalgo Island.

The park is free to use, although parking has a fee per hour. It offers bathrooms, picnic tables and a lot of space to ramble on. It’s usually quite windy so plan for that. To reach from the mainland, drive Hwy 525 to Front Street and take a left. The park is very visible while driving down the hill.

If you take the ferry and walk on from Whidbey Island, it is free to leave the island, but cost to come back. Buy tickets in the upstairs of the ferry building now.


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