Location: Kitsap Peninsula
Land Agency: Kitsap County Parks
Roundtrip: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Contact: Kitsap County Parks
Notes: Dogs prohibited.
Access: From Bremerton, follow SR 3 North to Newberry Hill Road Exit. Then head west for 3.0 miles turning right onto Seabeck Highway. Continue for 5.0 miles to Seabeck turning right onto Miami Beach Road just south of town. In one mile bear left onto Stavis Bay Road and follow for 4.5 miles to trailhead on left; parking on opposite side of road.
Good to know: Kid-friendly, bird-watching, snow-free winter hike
Perhaps the prettiest point on the Kitsap Peninsula and the crown jewel of the Kitsap County Parks system, Guillemot Cove will delight hikers of all ages and in any season. Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve protects almost 200 acres of stunning beach and stately forest on Hood Canal. A former private estate, Guillemot Cove is now managed as a nature preserve open to passive recreation.
There are four miles of trails within the preserve. The out-and-back to the old beach house makes for a good introduction. Begin by hiking downhill on the Sawmill Trail beneath a canopy of mature timber and rhodies (in bloom come May). Ignore side trails veering left. After passing through a beautiful flat of alders garnished with bouquets of ferns the trail turns east. Now named the Margaret Trail, it drops sharply into a cool ravine shaded by cedar, hemlock and the occasional yew.
After rounding a switchback, emerge in the heart of the old estate at 1.0 mile. Here at a kiosk several trails branch off. For the cove, cross Boyce Creek following the Beach House Trail. After a .25 mile reach the old beach house and the beach littered with oyster shells! The snow-capped Brothers tower directly across this stretch of Hood Canal. Look for eagles, shorebirds, and of course guillemots; a penguin-like seabird.
Return or consider exploring some of the preserve’s other trails, including one that leads to the old stump house; a giant cedar stump that was lived in during the great depression.
For more detailed information on this hike and 35 other great hiking destinations on the Kitsap Peninsula, Key Peninsula, and Bainbridge Island, pick up a copy of my best-selling Urban Trails Kitsap (Mountaineers Books).