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Postcards: Whidbey Island’s Kettles Trail system


From the Whidbey Island Bicycle Club

The Kettles Trail System is a jewel stationed between Oak Harbor and Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The area gets its name from a geologic feature that shapes much of central Whidbey Island; kettles are depressions formed by melting blocks of ice that broke free from a glacier. At the Kettles Trails, the kettles form deep, round indentations and sharp valleys in rapid succession, making for uniquely hilly terrain.

The trail system spans Island County’s Kettles Trails area and adjoining Fort Ebey State Park, an approximately 250-acre area with more than 30 miles of challenging but rewarding trails.

The well-loved trail network connects to neighborhoods and scenic overlooks and is a perfect place to ride, run or bike. While most of the trails are multi-use – aside from a few miles of hiker-only trail with stunning water views along a bluff – the mix of technical turns and flow make them perfect for mountain bikers.

Whidbey Island’s well-draining soil and location in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains means the trails stay drier than others in western Washington during the winter. Proximity to the water gives the area a mild climate in the summer, making the area ideal year-round.

The trail system hosts several mountain bike events in the spring, including an organized ride called Mussels in the Kettles, and a race called Cookin’ in the Kettles, part of the West Side Mountain Bike Series. Secret gardens of rhododendrons dot the area, blooming from March to July, with whites, pinks and reds bursting like fireworks, adding appeal to the area in spring.

Fall offers a quieter time to check out the Kettles. The Whidbey Island Bicycle Club, which maintains the trails, offers weekly group rides for those who want to explore the network with locals.

Learn more at whidbeyislandbicycleclub.com. Pick up a map outside the park entrance gate or get one online: islandcountywa.gov/PublicWorks/Parks/Pages/kettles-trails.aspx

For more mountain biking in the area, check out the Putney Woods and Saratoga Woods trail systems on the south end of the island.

Learn more about the Whidbey Island Bicycle Club here.