Deception Pass State Park
Guide

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Introduction

If you’re looking for a magical escape of untouched natural beauty in Washington state on your next RV adventure, then you need to visit Deception Pass State Park. Teeming with enchanting caves and jagged cliffs, Deception Pass State Park is the most visited state park in the state. Just North of Seattle, this state park offers 3,854 acres that are open for exploration with three lakes and jaw-dropping high bridges. The state park encompasses two serene islands, Fidalgo and Whidbey, that are connected by the Deception Pass Bridge.

When you take an RV trip to Deception Pass State Park, you’ll be greeted with 38 miles of hiking trails, 3 miles of biking trails, and 6 miles of horseback riding trails, where you can venture through scenic bluffs and lush forests. You’ll love spending a day filled with family fun splashing along the shore at Cranberry Lake. You can take awe-inspiring photography when you park your trailer at Kukutali Preserve, which offers amazing views of the islands. Deception Pass State Park offers the perfect opportunity for aquatic adventure, from boating to white-water kayaking.

When you take your RV out to Deception Pass, you’ll be vacationing in an area with rich history. Visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center, where you can learn about the incredible history of the park that dates back to the 1930s. Take a stroll along the Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail and learn about the local ecosystem and natural history of the park. You might also want to check out the Maiden of Deception Pass story pole at Rosario beach, where you can see a depiction of the story of Ko-Kwal-alwoot, which is a legend of the Samish Indian Nation.

RV Rentals in Deception Pass State Park

Transportation in Deception Pass State Park

Driving

You can drive your RV to Deception Pass State Park by taking Highway Route 5 to Route 20. There are local roads inside the park that will take you to main attractions including the interpretive center, campgrounds, trail heads, and scenic overlooks. There are no driving restrictions for trailers or RVs inside the park.

Parking

Parking lots are dotted around the park at all the main attractions. You will find parking at the Deception Pass Scenic Vista, Bowman Bay Boat Launch, the interpretive center, and the eastern side of Cranberry Lake. You can also park at the campgrounds if you are staying overnight.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Deception Pass State Park

Campsites in Deception Pass State Park

Reservations camping

Cranberry Lake Campground

Open year-round, Cranberry Lake campground is the largest at this state park, featuring 83 RV sites and 147 tent-only sites. Located on the southern island of the state park, this campground is divided into the Lower Loop and Forest Loop. You can stay at scenic sites that overlook Cranberry Bay and that are within walking distance to the Cranberry Lake Swimming Area. You’ll also have convenient access to one of the nature trails. There are restrooms, showers, fire pits, and picnic tables on-site. The RV sites feature water and electric hookups. The maximum length for RVs and trailers is 60 feet and sites can be reserved as little as a day or as long as a year in advance.

Quarry Pond Campground

Quarry Pond Campground is open year-round, featuring 49 RV sites and 7 tent-only sites. This campground features restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire pits. Located on the southern island in the park, you’ll be within walking distance to all the fun at Cranberry Lake. The maximum length for RVs and trailers is 60 feet. The RV sites feature partial hookups for utilities (water and electric). Reservations can be made from one day to one year in advance.

Bowman Bay Campground

Bowman Bay campground, located on the northern island, is the smallest campground in the park, featuring 18 tent-only sites, and two sites open to RVs. Open year-round, this campground has restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire pits that are located on-site. You’ll have convenient access to a nearby picnic area, nature trails, and aquatic adventure located at Bowman Bay. The maximum length for RVs and trailers is 60 feet. The RV sites feature partial hookups for utilities. Reservations can be made from one day to one year in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First-Served

There are no designated First-Come, First-Served campsites at Deception Pass State Park, but walk-up options may be available if sites are not all reserved.

Alternate camping

Private Campgrounds

You might prefer to stay at a private campground or RV Park located nearby. There are several private campgrounds located to the north and south of Deception Pass State Park. You can choose the type of accommodations you are looking for, from rustic to luxurious. These accommodations may feature a range of modern amenities including wireless internet, Cable TV, and swimming pools.

Ben Ure Cabin at Deception Pass

If you are looking for a unique accommodation experience, park your RV nearby and stay at the Ben Ure Cabin, which offers spectacular views of Puget Sound and Mount Baker. This cabin is only accessible by watercraft. The cabin is modern, featuring a deck, furnished electric kitchen, heat, electricity, bathroom, and outdoor shower.

Cornet Bay Retreat Center

If you want to park your RV on-site and stay in hotel or cabin, accommodations are available at the Cornet Bay Retreat Center, located at the park. This retreat center offers beautiful views of Mount Baker, where you can stay at a main lodge, duplex, bunkhouse, or in one of its 14 cabins. The lodge offers a fully equipped kitchen and the other accommodations feature restrooms and showers in the building or nearby. You will be supplied with beds, kitchen supplies, tables, chairs, and cleaning supplies. You’ll have to bring your own bedding and linens. The retreat center also features recreational activities on-site including horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and basketball courts.

Seasonal activities in Deception Pass State Park

In-Season

CCC Interpretive Center

Open from mid-May to Labor Day, the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center is a must-see during your camper trip to Deception Pass State Park. You will love exploring the exhibits at the center, which detail the history of the park, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Guided Hikes & Ranger Talks

During the summer months, Deception Pass State Park features regularly scheduled interpretive programs including guided hikes and ranger talks. Guided hikes provide a chance to trek through the scenic nature trails of the park while you learn about the park’s ecosystem and wildlife from expert rangers. The whole family will enjoy attending a ranger hike where you can learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.

Swimming & Diving

You’ll love swimming at the beautiful Cranberry Lake Swimming Area, located on the southern island of the park. The whole family will enjoy splashing in the waves and building sand castles on the shores of the lake. You can also go diving and scuba diving in the bay during your RV trip to Deception Pass State Park, although you should take caution due to the strong winds and currents of the water.

Hiking

Once you park your rig at Deception Pass State Park you can head out for a nice hike on the 38 miles of hiking trails. You’ll love hiking towards Lighthouse Point, where you can see ducks and waterfowl at Lottie Bay and enchanting Douglas fir forest. If you head out on the trail towards Rosario Beach, you’ll be met with scenic overlooks and a quiet picnic area.

Boating

There are loads of aquatic adventures waiting for you when you take an RV trip to Deception Pass State Park. From boating and kayaking to sailing and canoeing, you’ll love coasting down the majestic waters of Cranberry Lake or Pass Lake. Cranberry Lake allows boats with electric motors, while Pass Lake is open to non-motorized boats. Cornet Bay features six saltwater boat launch ramps, and Bowman Bay features a single lane boat launch ramp.

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing & Birding

Deception Pass State Park is a picturesque setting for wildlife viewing and birdwatching during your RV adventure to Washington. You can spot seals and otters on the bay and ducks on the lake. There are many mammals that call this state park home including rabbits, foxes, coyotes, deer, and raccoons. If you pack your binoculars in your trailer, you can see all kinds of birds such as owls, eagles, hawks, woodpeckers, and herons.

Horseback Riding

If you want to go horseback riding during your camper vacation to Deception Pass, you can ride along six miles of trails in the park. Most of these multi-use trails are located on the southern portion of Hoypus Forest. You will love riding on these scenic routes featuring lakefront views, ocean views, and forest landscapes.

Picnicking

Deception Pass State Park offers several scenic spots for picnicking. Picnic tables are first-come, first-served, but no matter where you enjoy a delicious meal, you’ll be surrounded by untouched natural beauty. You can picnic on the beach while you listen to the tranquil waters of Cranberry Lake or set up near the playground so the kids can have some fun during your stay.

Fishing

If you’re an avid angler, you’ll love a visit to Deception Pass State Park. Cranberry Lake and Pass Lake offer quiet spots for freshwater fishing. You can also enjoy catch-and-release fly fishing on Pass Lake. If you pack your fishing gear in your RV you will have the chance to catch salmon, shrimp, cod, and more.

Biking

You’ll love cycling down three miles of biking trails located at Deception Pass State Park. Most of these trails are located in the southern portion of Hoypus Forest. Once you head out of the RV you can coast along scenic trails through forests with beautiful, lakefront views.

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