Ebeys Landing State Park
No other place in Washington has the dramatic coastal scenery of Ebey's Landing where miles of farmers fields abruptly end at sea cliffs. The panorama looks like somewhere in Ireland, although the weather can be similar...that's for sure. This is where the first white settlement was located on Puget Sound. Unfortunately, Isaac Ebey settled here in 1850 and was murdered and beheaded by raiding Haida Indians in 1857. The Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve actually covers many public and private land holdings, a unique partnership between the Town of Coupeville, Island County, Washington State Parks, and the National Park Service. This specific part of the reserve is the best part, offering one of the most unique trails in Washington State.
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Drive Highway 20 form either the north or south end of Whidbey Island. At the west end of Coupeville turn south onto Ebey Road. At about 2 miles from the highway, the road drops to a small parking lot with a sign for Ebey's Landing State Park.
This is a loop hike with half on the Bluff Trail and the rest on the beach. It's probably best to get the bluff climb done first unless the tide is coming in, then follow the beach section during a lazy return stroll beachcombing. The bluff section starts with a 250 foot climb, which looks much worse to visitors than it actually is. With the stunning views the entire way, nobody really complains. The viewpoint on top is incredible with all the Cascades and Olympic Mountains in view, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The views over Ebey's Prairie are especially unique considering these are the longest continuously farmed lands in Washington State. Continuing the trail takes hikers along Perego's Bluff, a unique walk on the front edge of a forest of Douglas fir and Sitka spruce. The bluff path levels out as it soon travels over the lagoon or lagoons (depending on the year). At 1.5 is a trail split. Take the one that descends steeply to the north end of Perego's Lagoon. Then walk the beach back south to the parking area.
Distance: 3.5 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 250 feet
Isaac Ebey, the first permanent land claimant on Whidbey Island, claimed and started a successful farm in 1850. As other settlers arrived, communities were established at the west end of Penn Cove, at Port Townsend across Admiralty Inlet, and at Seattle. Ebey promoted a ferry system which linked his landing to the new settlements. Between 1851 and his untimely death, Ebey became District Attorney, Delegate to the Territorial Legislature, Collector of Customs, and Adjutant General for Washington Territory. Like other settlers, Ebey was attracted to prairie land which required no timber clearing. His claim also commanded the only Indian trail which led from the west shore over an easy route to Penn Cove. Inbound trade vessels moored at Port Townsend across the water. As Customs Agent, Isaac Ebey commuted the 10 miles by rowboat.
Isaac Ebey (1818-1857), Haida Indians, following a traditional practice of killing a chief for a chief, killed Ebey to avenge the death of one of theirs, killed by American forces at Port Gamble the year before. The Haida raided these waters regularly from their home islands 400 miles to the north.
Walking the beach back under Perego's Bluff
Distant Olympic Mountains
Trail down to the beach
From the far end of the loop looking toward Fort Ebey State Park
Perego's Lake from the bluff
Hiking the Bluff Trail toward Perego's Lake
The beach from the Bluff Trail viewpoint
The fields and Mt. Baker from the Bluff Trail viewpoint
Looking south from the Bluff Trail viewpoint
The beach next to the parking area with the Bluff Trail viewpoint in the distance
Picnic area near the parking lot
Kids like the open space
Walking the Bluff Trail
Overflow parking (and free parking) near the trailhead
Hiking the Bluff Trail