The last time we had hiked the trails at Admiralty Inlet Preserve (There is a map you can download/print or screen shoot for trail use at the link) was 6 years ago, so I decided it was time to revisit the trail system with the boys. They were so young when we last hiked it in 2017 they barely remembered any of it, so it was like getting a new hike in.
To get the whole trail system in, we parked at the farthest spot out. Heading towards Coupeville, on Engle Road, look for the Fort Casey Inn, and turn in at the last driveway (it’s steep but short, it’s a left hand turn). There is one spot to park in, backing in is best. If someone were there, you can now use the ample parking at the Walking Ebey’s Trail parking lot, just a bit up the same road. on the right side of the road. There is now a trailhead there, but you will need to cross Engle Road, it is 50 mph so be careful. Due to having children with me, I opted for the solo spot.
The trail starts just behind the parking spot. It is well marked. The first bit goes into an open forest, between the road.
Native Gooseberry –
Spring is just starting here, and is closer to the water so is colder.
This part of the trail system follows the road for a bit to the next junction, where the trail loops start. Yes, it is along the road, but unless a ferry is off loading you won’t usually see a lot of traffic.
At that junction, take the farthest right trail (there are 3 trails here). Basically you stay straight ahead.
The trail pops out into the prairie that is slowly being restored. The trees on the edge are dying/dead, but the system is rebuilding itself. Along the trail, periodically are benches to rest on. There is one here.
Being that it is colder here, than just across the road, in the woods, the first blooms are only now starting, and most haven’t yet. Indian Plum in bloom, the first to bloom most years, it is a native plant.
As the trail goes along the prairie, the road is kept at bay by a thick wall of Nootka Roses.
The view is the Salish Sea and across the water to Port Townsend. If clear, the Olympic Mountains.
Spring In A Vanishing Ecosystem. The trails have a number of educational signs.
6 years ago this trail was open. As the main trail starts curving away from the road, this trail took off through open forest and which passed old military spots (that had been sealed up) – these were part of the system on the bluffs for keeping watch on the water at Fort Ebey and Fort Casey.
It was jarring to see the prison quality gate/fence. It was only a third of a mile long of a trail.
So, instead, we curved to the left and walked back toward the prairie, but on the bluff side.
Another sign: Summer: Return Of The Prairie.
Looking across to Port Townsend the Quimper Peninsula. Any area with bluff access has fences now. Probably good I suppose. It literally drops right off here.
The boys ahead of me.
An older spot on the trail, this about the Triangle of Fire. The bluff behind is fully fenced off.
The old parts still standing. This at one point, long ago, was part of Fort Casey. The 3rd part of the Triangle was Fort Worden, across the water, outside of Port Townsend.
The trail comes to a junction. If you go left you will come out the 3 way trailhead in a short distance.
Instead? Head straight, then to the right. The best views of the water are here.
A Wild Shore With Life-Giving Bluffs.
From here you can look to the right and see Ebey’s Landing in the distance (the brown part is the still used fields of the preserve there).
So many pretty Daffodils on the bluff.
A trail takes off from here, into the forest.
This section of the forest is wetter and has many large trees still. Lots of birds.
The boys ahead of me. The bluff is on our right, but mostly behind a large wall of green, though you get nice views filtered.
A Rare And Diverse Forest (which means….it’s not been leveled and had $2 million homes put on it).
The walk is easy here, and cool in the forest.
A very specific sign letting us know if were going the opposite way we’d have a fantastic photo op in 1,035 feet.
The trail comes to an end (it seems) – though it continues on the other side. That land is owned by Camp Casey (which is owned by Seattle Pacific University and who owns the Fort Casey Inn as well). Camp Casey sits between the preserve and Fort Casey State Park.
Having said that a short trail goes along the property boundary to connect the loop on the other side.
I feel this old park bench is my spirit bench. All mossy and worn out.
The trail goes back the way you came, just a bit over. Nicely open forest, just starting to wake up for spring.
It really left me in a good mood.
Who Lives Here?
Plenty for sure. Especially coyotes at night!
The end of the second loop, as we neared back to the 3 way trailhead. Then it was a quick walk back along the road and forest, back to our car.
It’s not wilderness by any means. It was only 2.21 miles for the 2 loops and spur we did.
It’s a peaceful hike, with lots to look at, and to listen to.
It is free to use. It is a Whidbey Camano Land Trust property – no fees to use nor to park, unlike at the state park just down the road. And it is well maintained. Keep your dogs on leash as always (the prairie does NOT need dogs tearing around in the native plants!) and pack poop out. It is not open to bikes – so no, it isn’t stroller friendly. But children will enjoy this hike.