Above:  Deception Pass Bridge is one of the “Scenic Wonders of the Northwest.” Photo by Alex Maier.

Puget Sound, Section 8

The Puget Sound is the most easily accessible region of the Pacific Northwest Trail. A maritime climate offers year-round hiking and cycling, world-class wildlife viewing, and hundreds of miles of shoreline to explore.

Some of most popular trails on the PNT pass through Washington State Parks in the Puget Sound. With easy trails along sandy beaches and steep climbs to views from high rocky bluffs, the Puget Sound offers opportunities for a variety of trips for visitors of all ages and interests.

In the Sound, garden like trails add to the diversity of the PNT experience. Hedge rows of coastal salal line bluff side footpaths overlooking spouting whales, colorful sailboats, and the island chains of the Salish Sea. Elegant Pacific Madrone and twisted shore pine cling to seaside cliffs while harbor seals swim among the straights hundreds of feet below Deception Pass Bridge, one of the scenic wonders of the Northwest.

In this populous area, long-distance travelers can go light, carrying a minimal amount of provisions between seaside communities, all less than a day’s walk apart. Along the way, roadside stands and restaurants serve up refreshments, local berries, and fresh seafood. 

The Pass Lake Trail in Deception Pass State Park
The Pass Lake Trail in Deception Pass State Park offers year round hiking on the PNT. Photo by Eric Wollborg.
The Pass Lake Trail in Deception Pass State Park offers year round hiking on the PNT. Photo by Eric Wollborg.
Section 8 At A Glance
Plan Your Trip - Section 8
Section 8 At A Glance

Oyster Dome to Coupeville
68 mi (109 km)
Highest Point: 522’
Est. Elevation Gain/ Loss:  +9257’ / -1025’

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Dispersed camping is not available in Section 8. Camp only in designated sites and campgrounds.
  • The PNT passes through private property and city and county parks – these areas are day-use only
  • The Keystone Ferry provides transit between Sections 8 and 9
  • Use caution while traveling along roadways

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wildlife viewing:  seals, whales, otters
  • Anacortes Community Forest Lands
  • Mount Erie
  • Deception Pass State Park
  • Beach hiking on N and West beach
  • Fort Ebey State Park
  • Watching aircraft at Whidbey NAB
  • Lighthouses at Point Partridge
  • Whale watching from the Bluff Trail
  • Fort Casey State Park
  • Exploring WWI and WWII-era bunkers
  • Riding the Keystone Ferry
Plan Your Trip - Section 8

The PNT travels through some of our wildest public lands. These special places are home to animals iconic of wilderness, and species found nowhere else. By following the regulations of our National Parks and National Forests, you can help keep wildlife wild and the backcountry safe on the PNT.

Getting to and from the Pacific Northwest Trail is part of the adventure – America’s wildest National Scenic trail is located in some of the most remote mountain ranges of the Northwest and logistics are part of the challenge.

A visit to the undiscovered communities of the Northwest is a fun part of any trip on the PNT. From rugged mountain towns, to historic seaside cities, the diverse communities visited by the trail provide a peek into the lifestyles unique to the Northwest. 

Today, the PNT offers an experience that may be more challenging and rugged than it will be a generation from now. Until then, making the effort to be fully prepared for an adventure on the PNT is key to having a safe and enjoyable trip.

FAQ

Search our knowledge base of common questions about the PNT. If you can not find an answer here, please can contact us or join the conversation on the PNT Hikers Facebook group.

Find critical up-to-date information about the PNT trail network in one convenient location or subscribe to plain text email alerts.

The weather and climate across the trail corridor can vary greatly by geographic area, elevation, and season. The major mountain ranges of the PNT create rain shadows. This effect creates drier and warmer east sides, that can approach desert-like climates, and much cooler and wetter west sides that include rain forests.

“Against the Grain” is the unofficial slogan of the PNT, with good reason. This rugged, 1,200 mile route climbs over seven mountain ranges and it presents some unique challenges along the way. For those uncomfortable with hazardous situations, there are many trails on the PNT that are accessible to a wide range of visitors.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail travels through many different public and private lands. You can help to protect our natural resources, and the quality of the experience. Respect private property and learn the regulations of the area you are visiting.

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