Location: Whidbey Island
Land Agency: Island County Parks, Washington State Parks, and the Washington DNR
Roundtrip: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain: None
Access: Take State Ferry from Mulkiteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island. Continue north on SR 525 for 8.5 miles turning left onto Double Bluff Road. Proceed for 2.0 miles to road end at Double Bluff Park.
Notes: Dogs must be on leash accessing the off-leash area.
Contact: Island County Parks and Recreation; www.islandcounty.net/publicworks/parks
Double Bluff is one of Washington’s finest beaches. It offers a rare mix of wide sandy shores, stunning Puget Sound scenery, and easy accessibility. A favorite spot among Whidbey Islanders and their dogs, Double Bluff is also close enough to Puget Sound cities for a quick get-away to do a little beach hiking.
While Double Bluff can usually be hiked in all tides, low is preferable revealing extensive tidal flats. The walking is good here on hard-packed sand; a far cry from the cobbled coastline prevalent throughout much of the Sound. Double Bluff’s two mile beach is public property; but the towering bluffs and other surrounding uplands however, are private property. Please respect owners by not trespassing.
From the parking area, head west along a sandy shoreline cupping Useless Bay. The shallow inlet may not have been much value to ancient mariners, but pelagic and shore birds find it plenty valuable. After about a half mile, approach the first of the towering Double Bluffs. Among the highest coastal bluffs on Puget Sound they exceed 300 feet in height. They’re impressive—and so are the views out across the Sound.
Stare south to Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline shimmering in the salty horizon. Look east to Mounts Baker, White Chuck, Pilchuck and Three Fingers. Westward, the Olympic Mountains unfold before you. At 1.75 miles the beach grows rockier. Carry on for another .25 mile rounding Double Bluff before returning.
For more information on this hike and others on Whidbey Island, consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades guidebook.