Fort Flagler State Park boasts a terrific history experience, lots of watersports, hiking trails and a campground with 55 campsites that feature full hookups. Located nine miles northeast of Port Hadlock-Irondale, Fort Flagler State Park is situated on 1,451 acres overlooking Port Townsend Bay and Admiralty Inlet on Marrow Island. The park was created in 1955 after the former military post was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy. Fort Flagler State Park was originally part of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound from 1899 until 1954 which included the “Triangle of Fire” created by three forts- Casey, Worden and Flagler.
The area was once the ancestral homeland to the Jamestown S’Klallam Indian Tribe that made first contact with European settlers when the Hudson Bay Company entered the area looking for furs. The tribe was included in the Point No Point Treaty with the United States in 1855 but they decided not to vacate their homeland. Today, the tribe resides in an area west of the park where they continue to teach their children the traditions of the Jamestown S’Klallam.
Fort Flagler State Park is packed with history and cultural significance of the U.S. Navy. The fort contains many of the historic housing buildings, batteries, gun placements and a hospital. Activities at the park are numerous too, including a variety of watersports from scuba diving and swimming to boating and windsurfing to fishing and beachcombing along the two mile long stretch of beach. Other activities like hiking, bird watching and interpretive tours of the historic features of the fort are popular.
The weather at Fort Flagler State Park during the summer months between May and September ranges from the mid-60s to 70s with less than one inch of rain. Wintertime brings temperatures in the mid-40s and precipitation of two inches a month.
You can access Fort Flagler State Park from Flagler Road also known as Washington Route 116. RVs driving around the Puget Sound area will find a mixture of ferries, bridges and roads that connect the islands as well as the Olympic Peninsula to the main land. Driving from Port Hadlock-Irondale in the west along Route 116 is a tricky drive.
There are two significant bridges you must pass over before you get to Marrowstone Island along Route 116. The first bridge takes you onto Indian Island where you skirt the coastline before taking the second bridge over to Marrowstone Island. If you are driving a larger motorhome the winding road can be difficult until you reach Marrowstone Island. There are plenty of turnouts along Route 116 before you reach Marrowstone Island and you are advised to use the pull-outs to keep the flow of traffic steady.
Some RVers decide to take the ferry service from Fort Casey to Port Townsend. When you arrive at Port Townsend drive south on Washington Route 20 to Washington Route 19 and after you arrive in Port Hadlock-Irondale follow Route 116. Once you are driving on the island you will follow the coastline for the first couple of miles before hitting a straightaway that takes you to the park. Route 116 terminates when you enter the park where you might find driving challenging based on congestion.
Fort Flagler State Park contains one road that connects all areas of the park. The road will take you to day use areas in the east where you will encounter congestion. Another area in the park you find congestion is around the historical features like the hospital, gun placements, batteries and parade ground. The campground area is four loops which are easily navigated except in motorhomes towing an additional vehicle like a boat or car. When driving in the park please adhere to all posted speed limits. You can expect to share the road with pedestrians, bicyclists and children playing.
The Fort Flagler State Park Lower Campground is situated along two loops connected by one road and consists of 67 campsites including 55 campsites for RVs with full hookups. The campground offers direct access to the beach but does not boast much shade. Only a few spots are private with some trees for shade. The campsites feature a picnic table, fire ring and paved parking pad which may require leveling. Motorhomes and trailers are limited to 50 feet in length. Not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There are 18 pull-through and 49 back-in campsites. The dump station is near the entrance of the park. Please do not empty full holding tanks at the campsites. Facilities within or near the lower campground include a playground, restaurant, flush toilets and showers. The lower campground provides for direct access to the two boat launch areas. Generators may be used between 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a 6-foot leash at all times.
The Fort Flagler State Park Upper Campground is situated along one loop with 47 campsites. The campground does not feature services at campsites. The area is heavily forested which provides for privacy and shade. The campground is adjacent to the moorage buoys. Each campsite offers a fire ring, picnic table, gravel tent pads and paved parking pads that may require leveling. RVs and trailers are limited to 22 feet in length in the upper campground. Facilities within the campground include flush toilets, showers and drinking water stations. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a 6-foot leash at all times. The upper campground is open from May 1st until September 30th.
Pack your rod and reel in your motorhome before you head out to Fort Flagler State Park. Fishing is popular at the park from the two miles of shoreline and by boat. Boat fishing brings opportunities to catch halibut, lingcod, rockfish and a variety of salmon like Coho and Chinook. Fishing from the shore off of the spit gives you options to catch rockfish, sea bass, greenling, lingcod and different salmon species. Always check state regulations before you sling your line in the water for bag and size limits.
RVers can always find room for recreational gear and if you are a paraglider bring it along with you. Paragliding from the bluffs overlooking Port Townsend Bay is a splendid way to spend a little time flying while soaring above some great views. Once in the air you will have a bird’s eye view of the fort, Puget Sound and the surrounding islands. Before you launch make sure you have your cliff launch skills perfected as well as your USHPA cliff launch sign off.
Hiking in Fort Flagler State Park is superb with over five miles of marked trails for you to enjoy. There is a short nature/interpretive trail for families which is packed with information about the Puget Sound ecosystem and historic fort. Trails wind through heavily forested areas to bluffs overlooking Port Townsend Bay, the Puget Sound and Admiralty Inlet as well as numerous surrounding islands like Whidbey Island. The hiking ranges from easy to moderate and there is always 19,100 feet of saltwater shoreline to hunt for shells.
There is a variety of boating opportunities for you to be happy about at the park. The park has two boat launches, 256 feet of dock space and seven moorage buoys. You can take advantage of these park features by pulling your boat behind your motorhome or RV. Jet Skiing in Port Townsend Bay is fabulous, kayaking is best around the Admiralty Inlet on the east side of the island and there are consistent winds for small to medium sized sail boats. The view of the historic fort is fantastic from the waters of Puget Sound and you can appreciate why the U.S. Navy created the “Triangle of Fire.”
During the summer months the biggest attraction at Fort Flagler State Park is to take one of the interesting interpretive tours of the historic fort. The fort was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and many of the outstanding features have been restored. The fort was operational from 1897 until 1954 and formed part of the “Triangle of Fire” which protected the Puget Sound from invasion. The beautiful structures include gun placements, a parade ground, hospital, barracks and plenty of interpretive signs. Expert tour guides lead groups of people through the park from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
There is a plethora of watersports for you at Fort Flagler State Park. Bring your kite board or windsurf to catch the consistent winds that blow through Port Townsend Bay and Admiralty Inlet. Lots of RVers also like to bring their scuba gear. There is a perfect shore dive off the eastern portion of the beach area that takes you into Admiralty Inlet. Once in the water you can scuba around an artificial reef that is packed with marine life. Swimming is also popular with direct access to the 19,100 foot shoreline of the park from the lower campground.