Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Goose Rock

Distance: Approximately 1.4 miles, but there are longer options you can add on to extend your hike.

Elevation Gain: 484 ft.

Season: Year-round.

Description: Goose Rock is one of the highest points on Whidbey Island, and makes a fine viewpoint on a clear day. Hikers will enjoy looking out over Cornet Bay, Vancouver Island, and other Salish Sea destinations. Deep forest covers much of the outcrop, but the top of the Rock is a unique environment called a bald. These grassy rock outcrops were scraped clean by Ice Age glaciers, and kids can still see stripe marks on the rocks where the glaciers carved grooves in the bedrock. My kids enjoyed the Madrone trees, and felt a sense of accomplishment at completing the steep climb. Though the trail from the North parking area is short, it is steep in places, and children might need some encouragement to continue. But this hike is within the reach of even young children.

I describe this hike as starting at the North Beach parking lot. You can add on a mile both ways by parking out at West Beach and walking past the campground. You can also add more mileage by completing the trail around Goose Rock, which allows more close-up views of the water.

The variations in habitats in Deception Pass SP allow for a wide variety of interesting flowers, some of which are rare in our area. Please help children learn to stay on the trail and not trample wildflowers. We’ve also seen songbirds, raptors, including bald eagles, seals, and other creatures in the park.

Directions: From I-5 in Burlington, take Exit 230 for Hwy 20. Head west toward Anacortes, but before you get to the city, Hwy 20 turns off to the left/south. Follow this road over the Deception Pass bridge, and then watch for signs to turn right into the main park entrance. Follow signs to North Beach and park in the lot there. You’ll need a Discover Pass for this hike. Restrooms are available at the parking area, as well as at the southern terminus of the bridge.