Deception Pass State Park is one of Washington's most beautiful and popular state parks. It is spread out over 4,134 acres, including over 100,000 feet of shoreline.
Visitor's Guide to Deception Pass State Park
Parking Pass for Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park requires a Discover Pass. You can buy a Discover Pass at the parking kiosks for $5 a day or $30 for the year around the parking lots as well as online before your visit. Visit https://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/ for more information on where to buy Discover Passes.
Facts about Deception Pass State Park
Directions to Deception Pass State Park
Use the map below to get directions to Deception Pass State Park:
State Park Free Days
Below is a list of the "free days" that do not require a parking pass at Deception Pass State Park as described on Discover Pass:
Jan. 1 - First Day Hikes; New Year’s Day
Jan. 17 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
March 9 - Billy Frank Junior's Birthday
March 19 - State Parks’ 108th Birthday
April 22 - Earth Day
June 11 - National Get Outdoors Day
June 12 - Free Fishing Day
June 19 - Juneteenth
Sept. 24 - National Public Lands Day
Oct. 10 - World Mental Health Day
Nov. 11 - Veterans Day
Nov. 25 - Native American Heritage Day
These "free day" holidays do not include camping sites or rented facilities, like cabins.
Accommodations near Deception Pass State Park
There are a few different options for visitors who want to stay at the park. There are over 300 sites. Including:
There are three different popular campgrounds visitors might choose from. Of these, the Quarry Pond Campground is the only one open year-round. Due to the popularity of the three camping areas, they are often booked far in advance. Go to the Washington State Park reservation site to book a campsite or cabin for the future.
Campgrounds at Deception Pass State Park
The three campgrounds at Deception Pass State Park are:
234 campsites between Forest Loop and Lower Loop.
Limited views but close to the beach
Sites 231-235 for bikers
A few handicapped sites
Bowman Bay Campground
19 campsites and 1 RV hookup
Close to the beach
Showers and restroom
60 campsites and 53 RV hookups
Five primitive cabins
Restroom with shower
The accommodations, hookups, and size of the campsites vary. But, all sites are restricted to no more than eight campers. Other important information to keep in mind about camping at Deception Pass State Park includes:
Check-in time is at 2:30 p.m. and check-out time is 1:00 p.m.
One recreational vehicle is allowed per campsite (extra vehicles are $10 per night (space limiting)).
Pets on leashes are allowed.
Quiet time begins is between 10 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Maximum of 10 days between April 1st-October 1st (the peak season) and up to 20 days between October 31st and April 1st (the off-season).
Other accommodations include a private, two-person cabin that's available to rent on Ben Ure Island and the Cornet Bay Retreat Center, which can accommodate 200 people.
Best Time to Visit Deception Pass State Park
Summer is the best time to visit Deception Pass State Park. July and August have the fewest rainy days in the Pacific Northwest, with highs in the upper 60s in this area specifically.
In the winter months, lows in the low 40s and high 30s are common, as are highs in the low 50s.
Activities at Deception Pass State Park
Some of the many activities you can engage in at Deception Pass State Park include:
Fishing and boating
Sunbathing and playing on the beach
Exploring the surrounding forest
Hiking and trail running
5 Best Hikes in Deception Pass State Park
The best hikes in Deception Pass State Park are Lighthouse Point vis Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail, Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point via Rosaria Head Trail, Goose Rock Trail, Rosaria Head Trail, and Deception Pass Bridge and Beach Trail.
Read more about these trails below!
1. Lighthouse Point vis Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail
This is one of the most popular hikers at Deception Pass State Park. It is 2.4 miles long and gains an easy 321 ft. For most hikers, it will take around an hour to complete.
Time to Complete
Trailhead Coordinates: 48.53293055509492, -122.64084399609004
2. Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point via Rosaria Head Trail
This 4.7 mi trail is popular with hikers, trail runners, and birders. It's quite popular, meaning that sometimes parking is difficult, and some hikers might be put off by the number of people on the trail. But, it does feature great views of the coastline and forest.
Time to Complete
Trailhead Coordinates: 48.583830162386484, -122.62985766890256
3. Goose Rock Trail
A popular, easy to moderately difficult hike that usually takes just over an hour to complete. It's known for its beautiful views and birding opportunities and is kid-friendly. Hikers often spot bald eagles along this trail.
Time to Complete
1 hr 15 mins
Trailhead Coordinates: 48.540205063205796, -122.65183032327751
4. Rosaria Head Trail
An easy, 1.5-mile out-and-back trail that gains 206 ft of elevation. It is popular with families, sight-seekers, hikers, and trail runners. This trail is often busy, especially during the peak summer season. Areas are sometimes closed due to elephant seal protections.
Time to Complete
Trailhead Coordinates: 48.57656192539128, -122.64633695955887
5. Deception Pass Bridge and Beach Trail
A short, 1-mile trail with a brief uphill section. This is a popular hike for visitors hoping to watch the sunset, have a mid-day picnic, and admire Deception Pass State Park's many miles of shoreline.
Time to Complete
Trailhead Coordinates: 48.53293055509492, -122.62436430325035
Deception Pass State Park History
When Washington gained statehood in 1889, the area that's known today as Deception Pass State Park was military-managed land. The military sold around 1,800 acres of land to the state of Washington in 1922, and it was established as a state park.
Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island were connected via the bridge in 1934 and over the next year, hundreds of visitors flooded into the park. Today, as the most popular state park in Washington State, the bridge sees thousands of cars a day. The park continues to expand to this day and includes large areas of saltwater and freshwater shorelines, old-growth forests, and more.
What is the best place to hike in Deception Pass State Park?
The best place to hike in Deception Pass State Park is the Lighthouse Point via Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail. This short, moderately difficult trail provides hikers with fantastic views of the state park and can be completed in 1 hr and 15 mins.
What is the longest trail in Deception Pass State Park?
The longest trail in Deception Pass State Park is the Hoypus Point trail which takes hikers in a loop along several other popular trails. It is 6.5 miles long and only gains around 600 ft in elevation. The state park has few, truly long trails. But, it's possible to combine multiple together to make a longer, more adventurous day.
What is the best time of year to visit Deception Pass State Park?
The best time of year to visit Deception Pass State Park is in the summer. June, July, and August are the best months with highs in the 60s. But, they are also the most popular months. Some visitors complain about the crowds during this peak season.
Can you camp at Deception Pass State Park?
Yes, you can camp at Deception Pass State Park. There are three campgrounds. The only one open all year is the Quarry Pond Campground.
How much does it cost to visit Deception Pass State Park?
It costs $5 a day/$30 a year to visit Deception Pass State Park. You can buy daily or yearly Discover Passes that allow entrance into all Washington State Parks.
Is Deception Pass State Park closed?
No, Deception Pass State Park is not closed. It was closed for a time in August of 2021 due to toxic algae. Swimming, boating, and fishing were disallowed in the area.
Do you need a pass to go to Deception Pass State Park?
Yes, you need a Discover Pass to go to Deception Pass State Park. These passes are available for purchase at kiosks within the park or online beforehand. They cost $5 for one day and $30 for a year.
Are Washington State Parks free?
No, Washington State Parks aren't free unless you visit on a designated "free day." A Discover pass is required to park in and visit Washington State Parks.
Similar Washington State Parks
Located in the Columbia River Gorge, this Washington State Park is known for hiking, rock climbing, fishing, boating, and more. The main attraction is the 800-ft monolith at the heart of the park--Beacon Rock.
Visitors can climb a series of raps traversing the south side of the formation and enjoy spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge from the summit. For visitors seeking true adventures in the Pacific Northwest, this park is one of the best.
Battle Ground Lake State Park
Located in Battle Ground, Washington, Battle Ground State Park stretches over 275 acres. It is located on the site of a 400-foot volcano which is today filled with water. Visitors can swim, hike, camp, fish, and more at Battle Ground State Park.