Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: The čičməhán Trail In Fort Worden State Park

The čičməhán Trail runs through Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington as part of the trail. This section currently must be broken into two separate hikes, as part of the trail is blown out. This is worth the effort to do this section, as you get a bonus of enjoying the state park, and the history of the area for the Indigenous tribes. And you get to hike more trail, which for me is always a bonus, no?

The trail enters the state park at North Beach, which is a Jefferson County Park next to the state park. We hiked this section in July.

See here for a map of the trails in Fort Worden. Have it open so you can follow my hinky directions.

There are options though in where to start.

Start at the North Beach park. Enter Fort Worden State Park, and take either L1 trail, or the Chinese Gardens Trail, then connect to North Beach Trail.

For a different hike, start in the park at the Peace Mile Trail near the Forest Campground in the park and connect to L-6, then onto Chinese Gardens Trail.

A mosaic “Welcome To Chinese Gardens”, as you pass the lagoon.

Chinese Gardens Lagoon.

And out to North Beach where you have a couple options to wander across the meadow.

Follow this across the meadow area as it enters the forest and then turn onto Searchlight Road (trail). A quick uphill will bring you to Walker Battery.

Pop up and take a look. It’s a small battery, but a well preserved one.

At the top is a great view of Whidbey Island across the water.

Passing next is the searchlight, a now empty building. With the forts of Fort Flagler and Fort Casey, they could combine the three lights for high intensity.

As we approached Tolles Battery we saw the sign, for the trail. It was telling us to turn onto the Bluff Trail and go above Tolles Battery.

Follow the Bluff Trail as it winds along. It gets steep as it climbs quickly, to come out above Randol Battery. You can see just the top of it.

Pass a trail junction for The Beach Trail and the JFK Trail. Normally you would turn onto this trail and start heading down, but it is currently closed due to a washout on the bluff, just above the beach campground (in the campground the trail is closed off with caution tape).

So instead we made a loop of sorts, and came up to the 3-way junction at Artillery Hill. We took Battery Way East, which is the upper section of it.

We passed Powell and Brannan Batteries.

Near here is the junction for Gun Line Trail/Battery Way East and Powerhouse Trail. We opted for Powerhouse as it drops down, and cuts off the road walk Battery Way East would have done (this direction it will go back uphill and wind around). Powerhouse is a crudely built trail, and is steep, so keep that in mind, especially if it is wet.

We passed this building, with no road to it directly anymore. Just the crude trail, it was on a corner of the trail.

The trail crosses the lower Battery Way East. You have the option of turning right onto Battery Way East and following it back to the trailhead at Battery Way, or you can take the rest of the Powerhouse Trail and come out just below the trailhead for Battery Way. If you were parked at North Beach, or at the Peace Mile Trail, you would need to finish the hike of course (which is easy to do, and is nearly flat).

Now then…to finish our quest?

We took a break at our RV in the forest campground. Had lunch, did homeschooling, then the youngest and I laced up and left the campground. We headed out to Eisenhower Avenue (this is the road the public transit bus drops you off on). We turned down Harbor Defense Way, which is downhill until you reach the beach level.

Point Wilson is where the marker is. The area was once the site of seasonal Chimacum and S’Klallam camps, where they harvested shellfish and more. The water around Point Wilson is dangerous, with swift currents.

Whidbey Island across the water, with the aquarium on the dock, and Point Wilson Lighthouse in the far distance.

One side has a sidewalk till you reach the Canteen area, but it’s easy to walk along the road here, along the beach campground. Eventually you will cross the road, and you can walk along the road in a well defined walk path of sand. Or walk in the bike lane. Your choice, your comfort level. Keep walking with the Point Wilson Lighthouse as your goal.

Flowers on the third week of October, along the beach.

As you approach the parking area for the lighthouse keep an eye out – cars can block the marker.

Our goal. Note the arrow on the bottom. It is telling you to walk towards the campground, so you can climb the bluff (except it is closed).

This section was around 2.5 miles round trip. We celebrated by visiting the cafe in the Commons once we walked back, and did the uphill climb (8 to 3, 7 days a week) and shared a sammie.


One thought on “Local Adventures: The čičməhán Trail In Fort Worden State Park

  1. Great steam for adventures, and in August throw in the Blues Festival at Forte Worden. All very enjoyable.

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