The first time I moved to Whidbey Island it was 1989. I left. I came back. Left. And came back. That time I spent 9 years. I left for 15 years. This past year, as Kirk and I spent months searching for land to call home and homestead on, we came back to the island. And found our home on South Whidbey, in a rural area. Not far down the way, at the edge between South and Central Whidbey, lies the Greenbank Farm, a historical swath of land, that is now protected.
I had driven by the farm many times and not once had I pulled in and visited. Today was the day to hike the trails. If you are on the island, and are looking for a leg stretcher, or a dog-friendly hiking area, you must visit it. Follow the directions here to find the (free) parking. For a map of the trails see here to print one. Google Maps has most of the trails for the farm online, and outside of a few dips (right by the barns!) cell service is good, even for T-Mobile. However, remember that there are trails beyond the farm, and those are not on Google Maps.
Park in any of the lots around the farm buildings, and set out for the fields. Look for the pea patch and set straight out, heading towards the highway (West) to start the main loop trail. The trail gently rolls, across old farmland, that is now meadows. Many birds, including hawks and eagles, are visible.
Wherever there is a scenic view, at the top of a crest, find chairs and benches to sit on, and enjoy the amazing views.
I had always wanted to see this tree in person.
Looking down at the water, the view is across to Camano Island, and the head of Holmes Harbor and Saratoga across the water (Also part of Whidbey).
As the trail touches the edge of the perimeter, it heads east through the forest. On the other side of the fencing is the other part of the land, owned by Island County. It is public lands, also open to hikers, but does allow hunting during the fall.
There are trails that intersect across the meadows, up and down.
Two more chairs on the top of the high ridge, with 2 benches further down the trail.
Ford and I headed down, to finish the loop, following the perimeter. The trail goes lower and gets a bit boggy, but that means a high amount of wild roses, salmon berries and stinging nettles (and lots more). The trail smelled amazing in the warming sun.
We enjoyed the forest part. It was shady, with the breeze kicking through gently. Up higher, on the ridge, the wind was stronger. This section of the island is very narrow, only about 1.5 miles wide. At the top of the ridge you can see from the North Cascade Mountains to the East, and then to the West the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Look for the red barns below and an easy hike completes the loop, coming out by the pea patch gardens.