Visit old-growth, islands on State Parks ‘free days’

December 27, 2018
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A visitor to Deception Pass State Park takes in the sunset at Bowman Bay in November 2016.

From old-growth forests along the Skagit River to island views near Deception Pass, state parks in Skagit County have a lot to offer.

Access to those and the rest of Washington’s state parks will be free on 12 days in 2019.

Visiting a state park typically requires a Discover Pass for vehicles. The Discover Pass costs $10 for the day or $30 for the year.

Since the state began using the Discover Pass system for state parks and other lands managed by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, it committed to offering free days throughout each year.

“We think the State Parks free days are a great way for people to try a new park or visit an old favorite,” State Parks Director Don Hoch said in a news release.

Seven state parks in Skagit County offer a combined 7,700 acres of public land for recreation including hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.

Skagit County boasts the state’s most visited park — Deception Pass State Park — which covers 3,854 acres on south Fidalgo and north Whidbey islands.

The county also has two marine parks that are accessible only by boat.

Free days apply only to day-use access by vehicle, not overnight camping or rented facilities.

Five of seven state parks in Skagit County offer some Americans with Disabilities Act features to ensure those with disabilities can access the public lands, according to an online map State Parks released in October.


Here’s a little more about what local state parks have to offer:

Bay View State Park

A pebble beach on Padilla Bay with picnic and barbecue areas and waterfront camping. The park offers ADA camping, cabins, picnic sites, a kitchen shelter and restrooms.

Deception Pass State Park

This park is the state’s most visited park thanks to its island views, 48 miles of trails and several campgrounds, lakes and visitor centers. Deception Pass State Park also includes the Kukutali Preserve managed on Kiket Island in partnership with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. The park offers ADA camping, trails, picnic areas and restrooms.

Larrabee State Park

A large park in the southern Chuckanut Mountains featuring a rocky beach on Samish Bay, camping and 18 miles of forested trails, including to Fragrance and Lost lakes. The park offers ADA campsites, trails, restrooms and showers.

Rasar State Park

This forested park on the Skagit River between Hamilton and Concrete offers camping, about 4 miles of trails and many chances during the winter months to see bald eagles and other area wildlife. There are ADA campsites, trails, picnic areas and restrooms.

Rockport State Park

A pocket of old-growth forest offering 5 miles of hiking trails through the rare, never-logged habitat. The park includes ADA trails.

Skagit Island and Hope Island marine state parks

Island preserves accessible only by boat and with limited, primitive camping and trails available.

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