|Deception Pass Bridge and Deception Pass State Park|
Where is Deception Pass?Deception Pass State Park is about 80 miles north of Seattle via either I-5 or by taking the Mukilteo - Clinton Ferry and then driving north the length of Whidbey Island.
Personally, I recommend driving north on I-5 because of both the cost and time spent taking the ferry. Although the ferry ride itself is short the waiting times to board the ferry, especially on weekends, can be long.
The Deception Pass Bridge
|Pass Island and the Deception Pass Bridge - Photo credit: "Deceptionpass bridge2" by Jet Lowe - Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons|
Deception Pass Bridge Facts
- Built in 1934-1935 with funding from the WPA
- Opened July 31, 1935
- Height from water to the bridge deck: about 180 feet, depending on the tide
- Road - State Highway 20 with two 11-foot lanes, one in each direction
- Pedestrian Access: There is a 3 foot sidewalk on each side
- Bridge Width: 28 feet
- Total Bridge length (both spans): 1487 feet
- Number of Vehicle crossings: an average of 20,000 per day
- Cost of Construction: $482,000
- In 1982 the bridge was designated as a historical landmark
The swirling waters below the bridge are even more treacherous than they appear. During ebb and flow tides the water travels through at over 9 miles per hour and has has numerous small islands and submerged rocks that cause dangerous eddies. Traveling through the pass in a boat is not recommended for anyone but experienced navigators. Before the bridge was built travelers used a ferry to commute between Whidbey and Fidalgo Island.
|Deception Pass History Sign - Wickipedia Commons (Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)|
Deception Pass State Park
|Deception Pass State Park Sign|
Deception Pass State Park is 4,134-acres in size with portions on both Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands with entrance gates near the two ends of the Deception Pass Bridge. It is the most visited state park in Washington State with over 2 million visitors each year. The park is open year round for both day use and overnight camping and I especially enjoy camping there in the winter. The proximity to the water keeps the temperatures mild enough for enjoyable winter camping and it is much less crowded.
Although there are several camping areas, my favorite is the forest loop in the Cranberry Lake Campground. I admit that my opinion may be biased because of the fond memories from camping there in my childhood. Since Deception Pass State Park is the most popular state park in the State of Washington, don't expect to just drive in and find a camping spot in the peak summer camping months. You may get lucky, but to avoid disappointment, I recommend making a reservation.
|Deception Pass State Park RV Camping Area|
|Deception Pass State Park Camp Site|
Beautiful Cranberry Lake is just a short walk from the campground and also accessible from the road with a boat launch.
|Cranberry Lake - Deception Pass State Park|
One of the most unique features of the park is the proximity of Cranberry Lake to the saltwater of Puget Sound. The two bodies of water are separated by an access road and few hundred yards of sandy beach.
|Deception Pass Saltwater Beach|
The park has a total of 19 miles of saltwater shoreline for walking beach combing and watching the creatures in the tide pools like the ones on the rock in the photo. Going out to the rock does require paying attention to the tide. With high tides it is often surrounded by deep and dangerous swirling water.
|Bald Eagle at Deception Pass|
If you don't have time (or a reservation) to spend the night, Deception Pass State Park is a great place to spend the day. There are numerous picnic tables along the saltwater beach or some lovely shady picnic areas like this one along the shore of Cranberry Lake near the entrance gate to the park.