Deception Pass State Park, Bowman Bay

Over 77,000 feet of shoreline channel the turbulent swift currents of Deception Pass. This is the Sound’s most popular destination for experienced paddlers to test their skills. The park also offers 3,000 acres of steep coastal forest. Hike to Deception Pass Bridge and take in a bird’s-eye view of the churning waters below.

Approach: Sand and gravel mixture. Easy at both high and low tides.

Location: This Cascadia Marine Trail site is on the Fidalgo Island side of Deception Pass, between the picnic shelter and the head of Bowman Bay pier. The site is 100 yards south of the pier.

Hazards: Do not attempt to navigate Deception Pass and Canoe Pass if you are not an expert. The passes should be negotiated at slack current, lasting only 15-20 minutes. Currents can exceed 8 knots, with eddies, boils and whirlpools. Dangerous to all craft.

Sites: 1 site for up to 8 people.

Water: In main campground

Sanitation: Flush toilets & showers, 1/4 mile north

Overflow: Available at the discretion of the park ranger

Fires: No fires

Extras: 27 mi of hiking, underwater park, and environmental learning center

Fees: $14/night for up to 8 in site

Natural History: The English explorer Captain George Vancouver named the inner waterway Port Gardner. Later, a crew under command of Master Joseph Whidbey found the passage’s western entrance. Vancouver, feeling that he had been deceived by his Port Gardner, wrote on his chart Deception Pass. He also honored his officer by calling the large area Whidbey Island.

Reservations: No

Latitude: 48.41516
Longitude: -122.650516

Additional Resources: Google Maps Page, Guide Book PDF, Site History

One thought on “Deception Pass State Park, Bowman Bay

  1. From Susan:
    Consider matching names in both guidebook and online:
    Listed as Bowman Bay in printed guidebook
    Listed as Deception Pass State Park online
    In the printed guidebook (pg 89) it lists 8 sites. I only saw 3: one area tucked away behind the hedges with two picnic tables (where the new sign was recently erected) and one out in the open on the other side of the hedges with one picnic table. Plenty of space for tents though.
    Guidebook also states “easy at both high and low tides.” As a solo paddler, I wouldn’t say it was easy at low tide — it was a MUCK FEST and a long, slippery walk to the water’s edge at low tide.
    Showers in main campground were open.

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