Greenbank Farm–Plow through an array of family and dog friendly trails

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The Greenbank Farm offers a nice mix of woodland hiking and farmland wandering.

Quick Facts:

Location: Whidbey Island

Land Agency: Greenbank Farm

Roundtrip: 3.0 miles

High Point: 300 feet

Elevation gain: 275 feet

Contact: Greenbank Farm 

Notes: Some trails are open to equestrians

Access: From Mulkiteo take Washington State Ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island. Then continue north on SR 525 for 14 miles to Greenbank and turn right onto Wonn Road. Proceed for .2 mile to Greenbank Farm.

 

From dairying to the largest loganberry farm in the United States, Greenbank Farm has had a long and productive history on Washington’s largest island. But in the 1990s wine producers Chateau Ste. Michelle wanted to turn this scenic and serene piece of our agricultural heritage into a sprawling suburban housing tract. Mon Dieu! What were they thinking?!

Luckily for those of us who believe farmland is better off unpaved; scores of local citizens convinced the vintner to negotiate with the Trust for Public Land instead, which had far nobler intentions for this 522-acre tract. The Trust in turn sold the land to Island County, the Port of Coupeville and the Nature Conservancy to be preserved and managed as a living history farm for all to enjoy.

Dog owners in particular enjoy Greenbank Farm. If well-behaved and non-aggressive, Rover and company are allowed to roam the premises (away from the farm buildings) off leash. If you’re not fond of man and woman’s best friend you may want to opt for a different destination.

Children like Greenbank as well. This hike begins beside a small pen of alpacas. After admiring these fine sweater providers, take to the fields. Several trails traverse them and they all make for fine ambling. The center one however follows along a ridge crest granting the best viewing. Gallivant for a half mile across the grassy ridge grazing on views east across Saratoga Passage to Camano Island, Three Fingers and Mount Pilchuck; and west across Admiralty Inlet to the craggy eastern front of the Olympic Mountains.

Come to field’s edge along a row of blackberries and alder and a signed fence post marking the beginning of the forest trails. Continue into a forest of hemlock and fir. On good tread the trail winds through thick thickets of waxy leaf salal, bearberry, and rhododendron. At about .4 mile, come to a junction. Head right for a pleasant loop through quiet forest. After about a mile arrive at a junction. The trail right leads to an alternative trailhead on SR 525. Head left and after a .25 mile or so come to a familiar junction. Bear right and retrace earlier steps back to your vehicle.

For more information on this hike and others on Whidbey Island, consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades guidebook.

For wonderful information on family fun things to do and places to stay on Whidbey Island, consult Northwest TripFinder.

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