Cascadia Marine Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Cascadia Marine Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 150 miles.
  • Type: Water trail.
  • Surface: varied
  • Managed By: Washington Water Trails Association
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a unique water-based trail that stretches along the coastline of the Pacific Northwest, from the Canadian border to the southern tip of Washington State. The trail was established in 1993 by the Washington Water Trails Association (WWTA) with the aim of providing recreational opportunities for paddlers and boaters while promoting conservation and stewardship of the region’s marine environment.

The history of the Cascadia Marine Trail can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Pacific Northwest became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. As more people began exploring the region’s rugged coastline, the need for a designated water trail became apparent. In the 1970s, the idea of a marine trail gained momentum, and various organizations and individuals started advocating for its creation.

In 1993, the WWTA successfully launched the Cascadia Marine Trail, making it the first water trail in the United States. The trail initially consisted of a series of campsites and access points along the coastline, allowing paddlers and boaters to navigate the waters and explore the diverse ecosystems of the region. Over the years, the trail has expanded and evolved, with additional campsites, amenities, and resources being added to enhance the experience for trail users.

Today, the Cascadia Marine Trail is a popular destination for kayakers, canoeists, and boaters of all skill levels. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, from rocky shorelines and sandy beaches to dense forests and wildlife-rich estuaries. The trail also serves as a platform for environmental education and conservation efforts, with many organizations working together to protect and preserve the fragile marine ecosystems along the trail.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Deception Pass State Park – Located on Whidbey Island, this popular access point offers stunning views of the Deception Pass Bridge and access to the marine trail.

2. Fort Worden State Park – Situated in Port Townsend, this historic park serves as a trailhead for the Cascadia Marine Trail and offers camping facilities and beach access.

3. Blake Island State Park – Located in Puget Sound, this island park is a popular destination for boaters and offers camping facilities and hiking trails.

4. Manchester State Park – Situated near Port Orchard, this park provides access to the Cascadia Marine Trail and offers camping facilities and a sandy beach.

5. Jarrell Cove State Park – Located on Harstine Island, this park offers moorage facilities and camping options for those accessing the marine trail.

6. Penrose Point State Park – Situated on the Key Peninsula, this park offers camping facilities and beach access for boaters using the Cascadia Marine Trail.

7. Hope Island State Park – Located in Skagit Bay, this island park offers camping facilities and a dock for boaters accessing the marine trail.

8. Anderson Island – This island in Puget Sound offers multiple access points to the Cascadia Marine Trail, including the Anderson Island Marina and the Oro Bay Marina.

9. Lummi Island – Situated in the San Juan Islands, Lummi Island offers several access points to the marine trail, including the Lummi Island Heritage Trust Beach and the Lummi Island Ferry Terminal.

10. Sucia Island State Park – Located in the San Juan Islands, Sucia Island is a popular destination for boaters and offers camping facilities and hiking trails for those accessing the Cascadia Marine Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Washington State Ferries – Operates passenger and vehicle ferry services throughout the Puget Sound region.
2. King County Water Taxi – Offers passenger-only ferry service between downtown Seattle and West Seattle.
3. Victoria Clipper – Provides high-speed passenger ferry service between Seattle and Victoria, BC.
4. Kitsap Transit – Offers bus and ferry services connecting various locations in Kitsap County.
5. Seattle Streetcar – Operates a streetcar line in downtown Seattle, connecting different neighborhoods.
6. Sound Transit – Manages regional bus, light rail, and commuter train services in the greater Seattle area.
7. Washington State Department of Transportation – Provides information on road conditions, traffic, and transportation options in Washington state.
8. Amtrak Cascades – Offers train service between Vancouver, BC, Seattle, and Portland, with stops along the way.
9. BoltBus – Provides intercity bus service between major cities in the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle.
10. Uber/Lyft – Ride-hailing services available for convenient transportation within the area.


The Cascadia Marine Trail is a water-based trail that stretches along the coast of Washington State. While there are no specific amenities provided by the trail itself, there are various amenities available at different locations along the trail. Here are some common amenities you may find along the Cascadia Marine Trail:

1. Restrooms: Some locations along the trail may have public restrooms available, either at nearby parks, marinas, or campgrounds.

2. Parking: Depending on the access points to the trail, there may be parking areas available nearby. These can be found at public parks, boat launches, or designated parking lots.

3. Camping Sites: The Cascadia Marine Trail offers numerous camping sites along its route. These sites are typically primitive and may require permits or reservations. Some sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to fresh water.

4. Picnic Areas: Many parks and campgrounds along the trail offer designated picnic areas. These areas often have picnic tables, grills, and sometimes even shelters or gazebos.

5. Boat Launches: There are several boat launches along the trail, allowing easy access for boaters and kayakers. These launches may have parking areas and sometimes restrooms nearby.

6. Freshwater Sources: Some locations along the trail may have access to freshwater sources, such as rivers, streams, or lakes. These can be used for drinking water or other purposes.

7. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Cascadia Marine Trail offers opportunities for wildlife viewing. Look for designated areas or viewpoints where you can observe marine life, birds, and other wildlife.

8. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may find interpretive signs that provide information about the local ecology, history, or points of interest. These signs can enhance your experience and provide educational opportunities.

It’s important to note that amenities can vary depending on the specific location along the trail. It’s recommended to research and plan your trip in advance to ensure you have access to the amenities you require.

Nearby Services

1. Blake Island State Park – Offers camping and picnic areas with stunning views of Puget Sound.
2. Manchester State Park – Provides camping facilities and beach access for outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Fay Bainbridge Park – Offers camping, picnic areas, and beach access on Bainbridge Island.
4. Illahee State Park – Features camping sites, a sandy beach, and a boat launch for recreational activities.
5. Point No Point Lighthouse – Historic lighthouse with nearby beach access and picnic areas.
6. Fort Worden State Park – Offers camping, lodging, and recreational activities in a historic military fort setting.
7. Port Townsend – A charming town with various lodging options, restaurants, and emergency services.
8. Sequim – A town with lodging, dining, and emergency services, known for its lavender farms.
9. Port Angeles – A coastal city with a range of lodging, dining, and emergency services, serving as a gateway to Olympic National Park.
10. Neah Bay – A small community with lodging, dining, and emergency services, located near Cape Flattery and the Makah Reservation.

Cascadia Marine Trail Difficulty Notes

The Cascadia Marine Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 150 miles along the rugged coastline of Washington State, this trail offers a unique and challenging experience for kayakers and boaters. Navigating through changing tides, strong currents, and unpredictable weather conditions requires a certain level of skill and experience. Additionally, camping along the trail can be demanding, as it often involves finding suitable spots on rocky shores or remote islands. However, the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with its towering cliffs, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife, makes the effort worthwhile for those seeking an adventurous and rewarding journey.

Features And Attractions

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a water trail that stretches along the coast of Washington State, from the Canadian border to the southern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Along this trail, you can find numerous scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable ones:

1. San Juan Islands: This archipelago offers stunning views, abundant wildlife, and picturesque coastal landscapes. Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and San Juan Island are particularly popular.

2. Deception Pass State Park: Located on Whidbey Island, this park features the iconic Deception Pass Bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the swirling waters below.

3. Olympic National Park: This vast national park is home to diverse ecosystems, including temperate rainforests, rugged mountains, and pristine coastline. Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach are two notable spots along the trail.

4. Dungeness Spit: Located near Sequim, this natural landmark is a long, narrow sand spit that extends into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It offers stunning views and is a popular spot for birdwatching.

5. Cape Flattery: Situated on the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery offers dramatic coastal views, sea caves, and the opportunity to spot whales and other marine life.

6. Fort Worden State Park: Located in Port Townsend, this former military base is now a state park with historic buildings, scenic trails, and panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

7. Sucia Island State Park: Part of the San Juan Islands, Sucia Island is known for its rugged beauty, secluded coves, and unique sandstone formations.

8. Point No Point Lighthouse: Located on the Kitsap Peninsula, this historic lighthouse offers stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

9. Blake Island State Park: Situated in Puget Sound, this island is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and the opportunity to experience Native American cultural performances.

10. Anderson Island: This small island in the southern Puget Sound offers a peaceful retreat with scenic views, hiking trails, and the chance to spot wildlife like bald eagles and seals.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Cascadia Marine Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be leashed and under control at all times.
2. Properly dispose of pet waste in designated areas.
3. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
4. No hunting or fishing within designated areas.
5. Follow all local fishing regulations and obtain necessary permits.
6. No open fires except in designated fire rings or grills.
7. Pack out all trash and leave no trace.
8. Respect private property and do not trespass.
9. Do not damage or remove any natural or cultural resources.
10. Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during bird nesting seasons.
11. Follow all boating regulations and safety guidelines.
12. Obtain necessary permits for overnight camping or use of designated campsites.
13. Practice low-impact camping and minimize disturbance to the environment.
14. Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a peaceful atmosphere.
15. Stay on designated trails and avoid trampling vegetation.
16. Do not disturb or remove any historical or archaeological artifacts.
17. Respect any additional rules or guidelines posted at specific trail sections or campsites.

Seasonal Information

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a stunning water trail that stretches along the coast of Washington State, offering outdoor enthusiasts a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. While the trail can be enjoyed year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the most popular times to visit the Cascadia Marine Trail is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it ideal for kayaking, paddleboarding, and camping along the trail. The summer months also offer longer daylight hours, allowing visitors to make the most of their time on the water.

Another great time to visit the Cascadia Marine Trail is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. In spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures. Fall brings stunning foliage colors and a quieter atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a peaceful and serene experience.

It’s important to note that some areas of the Cascadia Marine Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions. For example, certain islands or campsites may be closed during the winter months due to inclement weather or wildlife conservation efforts. It’s always recommended to check with local authorities or the Washington Water Trails Association for the most up-to-date information on closures and restrictions before planning your visit.

Overall, the best times to visit the Cascadia Marine Trail are during the summer months for optimal weather and longer daylight hours. However, the trail’s beauty can be enjoyed year-round, with each season offering its own unique charm and opportunities for outdoor exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a nature lover looking for a peaceful retreat, the Cascadia Marine Trail is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.


1. ADA Accessible Campsites: Several campsites along the Cascadia Marine Trail are wheelchair accessible, providing accessible picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads.
2. ADA Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available at designated locations along the trail, ensuring convenient facilities for all visitors.
3. Accessible Launch Sites: The trail offers accessible launch sites with ramps or other accommodations, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to easily access the water.
4. Accessible Trails: Some sections of the Cascadia Marine Trail feature accessible trails, providing smooth and level pathways for wheelchair users to explore the surrounding areas.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Wheelchair accessible picnic areas are available along the trail, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor meals and scenic views.
6. Accessible Information Boards: Information boards along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing important details about the area’s history, wildlife, and safety guidelines in a format suitable for all visitors.
7. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near trailheads, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
8. Accessible Waterfront Facilities: The trail offers accessible waterfront facilities, such as fishing piers or viewing platforms, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to enjoy the marine environment.
9. Accessible Interpretive Programs: Some sections of the trail offer accessible interpretive programs, providing educational opportunities for all visitors, including those with disabilities.
10. Accessible Lodging Options: Nearby lodging options provide accessible accommodations for individuals with disabilities, ensuring a comfortable stay during their visit to the Cascadia Marine Trail.

Safety Information

1. Check weather conditions: Stay updated on weather forecasts and be prepared for changing conditions.
2. Carry appropriate safety gear: Have a personal flotation device (PFD), whistle, and signaling devices.
3. Know your limits: Be aware of your own abilities and experience level, and don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle.
4. Plan your trip: Research the route, tides, currents, and potential hazards before setting out.
5. Share your plans: Inform someone about your trip details, including your intended route and estimated return time.
6. Be mindful of wildlife: Respect marine life and keep a safe distance to avoid disturbing or endangering them.
7. Practice Leave No Trace principles: Minimize your impact on the environment by packing out all trash and leaving campsites as you found them.
8. Be cautious of boat traffic: Stay visible and avoid congested areas, especially near ferry routes or busy waterways.
9. Stay hydrated and nourished: Carry enough water and food to sustain yourself during your journey.
10. Be prepared for emergencies: Have a first aid kit, know basic first aid procedures, and have a plan for contacting emergency services if needed.
11. Be aware of hypothermia risks: Dress appropriately for the water temperature and weather conditions to prevent hypothermia.
12. Stay updated on regulations: Familiarize yourself with local regulations and permits required for camping or accessing certain areas along the trail.
13. Practice proper navigation: Use navigational tools such as charts, compass, and GPS to ensure you stay on course.
14. Be cautious of strong currents: Understand tidal currents and avoid areas with strong or unpredictable currents.
15. Maintain communication: Carry a waterproof communication device, such as a VHF radio or cell phone, to stay connected in case of emergencies.

Conservation Notes

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a unique and ecologically significant water trail that stretches along the coast of Washington State, from the Canadian border to the southern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. As a designated National Recreation Trail, the conservation status of the Cascadia Marine Trail is of utmost importance to ensure the preservation of its natural resources and the protection of its diverse marine ecosystems.

The trail traverses through a variety of habitats, including rocky shorelines, sandy beaches, estuaries, and kelp forests, which support a wide array of marine species. These habitats are home to numerous threatened and endangered species, such as the Southern Resident killer whales, marbled murrelets, and various species of salmon. The conservation efforts for the Cascadia Marine Trail focus on maintaining the health and integrity of these habitats to support the survival and recovery of these vulnerable species.

To protect the marine ecosystems along the trail, strict regulations and guidelines are in place to minimize human impact. These include restrictions on camping locations, waste disposal, and wildlife interactions. Additionally, education and outreach programs are implemented to raise awareness among trail users about the importance of conservation and responsible recreation practices. By promoting sustainable use and minimizing disturbances to the natural environment, the conservation status of the Cascadia Marine Trail aims to ensure the long-term viability of its ecosystems and the species that depend on them.

Leave a Comment