If there are blue skies on Whidbey Island and you aren’t skeptical of heights and high ridges, the Bluff Trail at Ebey’s Landing is the place to be.
While you can park down by the beach at the end of Ebey’s Landing Road, my favorite starting point is the Prairie Overlook trailhead across the road from Sunnyside Cemetery.
Trust me here. If you are looking to take in dramatic views and a little history this is the best starting point. If this is your first visit, linger a bit over the expansive landscape. Not only will you see the once threatened farms during the 1970s land use fight where farmers fought developers looking to build subdivisions along the prairie, but on a clear day views of the Cascade and the Olympic Mountains.
The walk toward the beach takes you past Joseph Ebey’s house and the block house. In the summer months you can tour the house and learn more about the Ebey’s who settled here in the 1850s with the promise of free land.
Heading down toward the water, find yourself surrounded by a pastoral prairie with Willowood Farm’s pristine fields to your left and about a mile into your journey, approaching the first climb above the beach, if you are lucky you’ll also be greeted by views of Mt. Baker to your back and Mt. Rainier across Puget Sound to your left.
Say a prayer, give a blessing of gratitude, or do whatever you do to show appreciation, because seeing these two Goliaths together is Mother Nature’s gift to you today.
Climb the Bluff Trail and stop to take in the views. The Port Townsend Ferry crossing the Sound, a sea plane carrying passengers to and from the island or a noisy aircraft from NAS Whidbey possibly pop into view depending upon time of day or time of year. As you get closer to the downward trail leading you to the beach the Lagoon appears. A famous place for images.
A mile and half or so later you’ll begin switchbacking down the trail toward the beach. As you navigate the rock and sand be on the lookout for agates, stray crab forsaken by the outgoing tide, driftwood art provide by wind and sea or cairns stacked by others who journey down this path before you.
If you have extra time and you are seeking a few extra miles, duck into the trail that surrounds the lagoon. On windy days when the tide is out the lagoon can provide some relief, but it also gives a different perspective to the overall flora and fauna.
Two miles later the beach portion of the hike ends at the parking lot. If it’s a nice day , it’s a great place to lunch whether on s piece of driftwood or a nearby picnic table.
If you are ending your day with this hike, and the weather cooperates, prepare yourself for a stunning sunset as you climb up the wooden stairs and make your way along the trail back to the car.