The Hiker Mama

Padilla Bay Interpretive Center and Shore Trail

Distance: The Upland Trail, leaving from the Interpretive Center, is 0.8 miles. The Shore Trail is 2.25 miles from end to end.

Elevation Gain: Both trails are mostly flat.

Season: Year-round.

Description: These two trails are part of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Reserve. Children will enjoy visiting the small Breazeale Interpretive Center, which has an aquarium, interpretive displays, and hands-on activities for all ages. While at the Interpretive Center, you can check out trail guides and binoculars, and walk the Upland Trail. Guides are available online to print out, giving more information about Botany and Native Plants, fun activities for kids, and general information about the forest. Trails and parking lot are open all days and times, but the Interpretive Center is open Wed-Sun 10-5. Admission is free!

Or for a walk along the bay, you can drive a mile down to the Shore Trail and walk as far as you’d like on top of a dike. At 2.5 miles, the trail ends at the southern trailhead; you can organize a car shuttle or turn around there and walk back the way you came. This trail is hard packed gravel, and bikes and dogs are allowed. You’ll have a good chance of seeing different birds, from bay and marsh residents, to songbirds, to the raptors that hunt the fields. Farmlands on one side are protected from coastal waters by the dike. If the tide is out you’ll have views of the expansive mudflats and eelgrass beds. Don’t plan to play on the beach in this area; nearby Bayview State Park has more beach access for children. Flush toilets and drinking fountains are available at the Interpretive center; porta-potties are available at the parking areas on both ends of the dike.

Directions: To the Interpretive Center and Upland Trail: From I-5 heading north from Seattle, take Exit 231 in Burlington. Turn left and go under the freeway, then take Josh Wilson Rd. west (left) toward Anacortes. Follow this road for about 6 miles, until it ends, and take a right on Bay View-Edison Rd. Drive north, and pass Bay View State Park. Turn right at the signs for the Breazeale Interpretive Center, about 1/4 mile past the state park. Parking is free; no permits are needed. To the Shore Trail: From I-5 in Burlington, take exit 230 to SR 20 and head west. In approx. 7 miles, turn right onto Bay View-Edison Rd. The trailhead will be about 3 miles down this road, on the left. Parking is just past the trailhead; turn right at Second St. and look for the large gravel parking lot on the left. No permits are needed.

Links: Read about the trails and find many other links on the Padilla Bay website. For a map of good birding areas, click here.


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