The beachfront of Mulkiteo, Washington were once nearly all industrial. Filthy, ugly and used to move things, rather than be used by birds and animals to thrive. One of the worst crimes against the beaches was the “Mulkiteo Tank Farm“, which was built in the 1950’s to house fuel for the squadron housed nearby at Paine Field, for the Korean War. Eventually Paine Field became a regional airport, and the years slipped by.
Even as an adult those hideous tanks still sat there, rusting into the Earth. They are now gone (finally), but the concrete still exists.
We walked off the ferry, headed downstairs from the terminal and came out into the transit area/parking lot. Follow the sidewalk, passing the public pier as you leave the transit area. The sidewalk ends here:
It’s there for an obvious reason. The trail has not been made beyond. And it’s a steep walk down to the old grade. Yeah, ignore it. Everyone else does – and literally all that is “closed” is the tiny sections between the 2 signs. However….there’s a good loop to be had……
We turned right on the sidewalk instead and walked out of the transit area to reach 1st street. Google Maps shows the road not going through, but it does. Follow the sidewalk along the fenced in old area until you reach the end of the road.
Lots of birds and plants trying to thrive still, in the concrete disaster that still sits here.
The road ends at the parking lot for the beach, with ample parking (free) and the access to the Mt. Baker Terminal, run by the Port of Everett. The old train caboose is one to see. From a distance.
The Port of Everett could call this section a success. It helped restore the fish, the birds and so much more. The beach here is clean and busy with life.
Learn about the history of the terminal and Boeing after the wars, and how it was used to move aerospace parts, via a private rail line from the massive Boeing factory, up the hill. If you hang out here for even a few minutes chances are you will see multiple planes coming in over the water, landing at Paine Field. We counted 3 jets in an hour. It’s not noisy though. The planes are not as big in general as those that land at SeaTac, outside of Seattle.
As you walk around the parking lot and the beach access, the views of Whidbey, Hat and Camano Islands are easy to enjoy, with the Washington State Ferry running across the water.
The sidewalk ends and the old access road is the trail, to head back on. It’s wide and easy to walk. There is plenty of access to the beach, if the tide is low. The ferry terminal is in the distance.
If all you wanted to do was sit and watch the traffic go by, that is good enough.
To get to the other side of the ferry terminal you can either go up and over to continue on, or walk the sidewalk on the outside of the ferry terminal. Part of the tank farm is now in its final stage and is smooth and open – with benches and picnic tables to sit at. More is coming on this side, the work slowly continues on. This section is wide and paved sidewalk, easy to enjoy, with many signs installed about the area – history, animals, and the sea and more.
This is what this area looked like just a few years ago. The ferry terminal is now fully built (where it shows Hwy 525) and all the mess of buildings is gone and now this:
As we walked onto the ferry, via the ramp, we looked down the beach (not much sand here) to enjoy the views of the new area and looking down to where the old ferry terminal was just a few years ago (the old dock was built in 1952, and sat down by the lighthouse). Whidbey Island is in the background.
A lot has changed, and will continue to change. It’s so much nicer than it was even 2 years ago. And yes, it’s worth the visit to this small beach/park. It’s free to park at and use. And it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the big park down by the lighthouse.