Deception Pass State Park is a 4,134-acre park in Washington with 15 miles of saltwater shoreline and 6 miles of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. One highlight of the park is the 976-foot long, 180-foot high Deception Pass Bridge. There are two bridge sections: the longer span connects Whidbey Island to the tiny Pass Island, and the shorter span connects Pass Island to Fidalgo Island.
The main reason the bridge is a highlight of the park is because there are narrow pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge allowing visitors to walk across both spans. The wind, fog, heights, and vehicles zipping by all combine to make walking across the bridge a thrilling experience. Fortunately our dogs are used to heights and weren’t scared at all.
The view from the bridge is terrific, though there was some fog rolling in on the day we walked across the bridge. This is looking west. Behind that fog bank is the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which leads to the Pacific Ocean. You can see some people enjoying the day on North Beach at left in the photo.
Here is another view looking west, this time from the north span of the bridge. In 1792, Captain George Vancouver felt he had been deceived as to the nature of this inner waterway, so he wrote on his chart, “Deception Pass.”
During low tides, the swift current under the bridge can cause large waves, whirlpools and eddies. Boats may back up on the both sides of the bridge waiting for the tide to come in before passing through this treacherous area, whereas thrill-seeking kayakers row right in to take advantage of the challenging rapids.
This is the view from the bridge looking east into Skagit Bay. On these sheer cliffs of Fidalgo Island, there used to be a state prison camp that operated a quarry from 1910 to 1914. About 40 prisoners were housed there and would cut rock from the cliffs and load it on barges for use on the Seattle waterfront. After the camp was abandoned, it became a draw for local teenagers, some of whom fell to their deaths while climbing on the ruins. Because of this hazard, the camp was dismantled in 1924.
We watched this family for a few minutes as they’d lean over the rock shelf to view the water below. Here’s some trivia: the 2002 horror movie “The Ring” was filmed near Deception Pass.
After walking across both spans of the Deception Pass Bridge on both sides of the road, we climbed down to the beach for a distant view.
Perhaps this man is pondering the infinite possibilities of the sea.
Wildflowers were blooming along the West Beach. Deception Pass is the most popular state park in Washington with over 2 million visitors annually.
A Coast Guard plane was flying in the distance while some fishermen tried their luck in Cranberry Lake. There was also an Air Force base nearby, and the following was posted on a wall in the campground: “The U.S. Navy conducts numerous fighter jet drills at all hours of the day. Washington State Parks cannot be responsible for this significant intrusion on your camping experience.” Yes, the fighter jets were loud, but this wasn’t exactly a wilderness park anyway, so we didn’t mind.
These kids were watching the sunset on a large piece of driftwood while their brother was skipping rocks in the water.
We enjoyed watching the sunset over the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. This was a beautiful end to a great day!