hiking · Trip Reports

South Whidbey State Park: South Forest Discovery Trail Loop

South Whidbey State Park is a hidden gem, tucked into the rural south end of Whidbey Island in Washington State. While the park isn’t big, it’s well worth a visit if you happen to be on the island. In recent years the park had to shut down its campground due to dangerous trees so even less traffic sees the park. For us, the park isn’t far away (it’s literally one ridge away) so having an early release day at school, the boys and I (and Kirk) headed over to get a quick hike in. Kirk only had a bit of time, so we couldn’t do a long loop. Next time of course! (See here for a map to print)

South Forest Discovery Trail Loop is off of the parking area, as you enter the park. It’s not always obvious it’s a trailhead, so look for the bathroom on the right in the big meadow by the parking area, then look straight ahead to the woods and you will see the sign for the trail.

Go straight ahead to do the Southern Loop. The maps are a bit confusing, and the “northern loop” isn’t marked. You will pass a sign by a trail that hooks to the right not long after that says “Picnic Area”. That is the northern loop. Take it on the way back for a bonus hike 😉

The trail parallels Smuggler Cove Road for part of the way, but the little streams help push down road noise. Lots of salmon berries ripening in the open forest.

The boys loved all the bridges, over the tiny streams.

Wild roses.

Some very healthy Skunk Cabbage!

On the way home, the boys wanted to do more so Kirk dropped us off at the Trillium Community Forest and he headed back to work. It had been a month or so since I had hiked there, and the boys hadn’t been to it before.

Either this is new or I hadn’t noticed the awesome new gate lizard at the parking lot!

We checked out the newly paved section of the Level Loop. The Level Loop as I talked about in the link above is an accessible trail, designed that wheelchairs can do it. Now, about half the trail is paved, which is even better!

Walker and Alistaire, in their element.

~Sarah