Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 371 miles.
  • Type: Water trail.
  • Surface: Water
  • Managed By: Kitsap County Parks Department
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The indigenous Suquamish and S’Klallam tribes have inhabited the region for thousands of years, relying on the abundant resources of the land and waterways. These tribes were skilled in navigating the intricate network of water trails, using canoes made from cedar trees to travel, fish, and trade.

European exploration of the Kitsap Peninsula began in the late 18th century when British and Spanish explorers arrived in the area. Captain George Vancouver, a British naval officer, explored the region in 1792 and encountered the Suquamish tribe led by Chief Kitsap. This encounter led to the naming of the peninsula after Chief Kitsap, honoring his role as a respected leader.

In the late 19th century, the Kitsap Peninsula became a hub for the timber industry, attracting settlers who established logging camps and mills along the shores. The waterways served as vital transportation routes for moving timber and other goods, contributing to the economic growth of the region. The arrival of the railroad in the early 20th century further facilitated the transportation of goods, connecting the Kitsap Peninsula to larger markets.

Over time, recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and kayaking gained popularity on the Kitsap Peninsula. Recognizing the historical and cultural significance of the waterways, the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Association was formed in 2004 to promote and preserve the region’s water trails. Today, the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail offers a unique opportunity for visitors and locals alike to explore the area’s rich history while enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s waterways.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Port Gamble
2. Poulsbo
3. Silverdale
4. Bremerton
5. Port Orchard
6. Manchester
7. Olalla
8. Gig Harbor
9. Key Peninsula
10. Seabeck
11. Hood Canal Bridge
12. Port Ludlow
13. Port Townsend

Transportation Available

1. Kitsap Transit – Public transportation agency serving Kitsap County.
2. Washington State Ferries – Operates ferry services connecting the Kitsap Peninsula to Seattle and other nearby destinations.
3. Kitsap Airporter – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Sea-Tac Airport.
4. Kitsap Airport Express – Airport shuttle service serving Kitsap County.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
6. Lyft – Another ride-hailing service operating in the region.
7. Yellow Cab – Local taxi service serving the Kitsap Peninsula.
8. Kitsap Taxis – Taxi service offering transportation within Kitsap County.
9. Kitsap Car Service – Private car service providing transportation in the area.
10. Kitsap Limo – Limousine service available for various transportation needs.


The amenities available at the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various locations along the water trail, including parks, marinas, and public access points.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas for vehicles and trailers at many launch points and access points along the water trail.

3. Camping Sites: There are several camping sites available along the water trail, including both public and private campgrounds. Some popular camping spots include Manchester State Park, Illahee State Park, and Scenic Beach State Park.

4. Picnic Areas: Many parks and public access points along the water trail have picnic areas with tables, benches, and barbecue grills. These areas provide a great spot for picnicking and enjoying the scenic views.

5. Boat Launches: There are multiple boat launches along the water trail, allowing easy access for boaters and paddlers. Some popular boat launches include Silverdale Waterfront Park, Port Orchard Marina Park, and Point No Point County Park.

6. Fishing Piers: There are fishing piers available at various locations along the water trail, providing opportunities for anglers to fish from shore.

7. Interpretive Signs: Along the water trail, you will find interpretive signs that provide information about the natural and cultural history of the area, as well as points of interest.

8. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail offers numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing. There are designated areas along the trail where you can observe birds, marine mammals, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

9. Food and Beverage Options: There are restaurants, cafes, and food vendors located near some of the access points and marinas along the water trail, providing options for dining and refreshments.

10. Rental Services: Some locations along the water trail offer rental services for kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and other watercraft, allowing visitors to explore the trail even if they don’t have their own equipment.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific location along the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail. It is recommended to check with local authorities or visit the official website for more detailed information about specific amenities at each access point.

Nearby Services

1. Silverdale Beach Hotel – Beachfront hotel offering comfortable accommodations with stunning views of the water.
2. Oxford Suites Silverdale – Upscale hotel featuring spacious suites, complimentary breakfast, and a fitness center.
3. Best Western Plus Silverdale Beach Hotel – Modern hotel with an indoor pool, hot tub, and on-site restaurant.
4. Poulsbo Inn & Suites – Cozy inn offering comfortable rooms and a complimentary continental breakfast.
5. Clearwater Casino Resort – Casino resort with a variety of dining options, live entertainment, and waterfront views.
6. Port Gamble Guest Houses – Quaint guest houses in a historic town, providing a unique lodging experience.
7. Kingston House – Charming bed and breakfast with cozy rooms and a delicious homemade breakfast.
8. The Point Casino & Hotel – Casino hotel offering comfortable rooms, dining options, and live entertainment.
9. Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort – Resort with a casino, multiple dining options, and a waterfront hotel.
10. Poulsbo Marina & Guest Moorage – Marina offering guest moorage for boaters, with nearby amenities and services.
11. Harrison Medical Center – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care and a range of healthcare services.
12. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office – Law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining public safety and emergency response.
13. Poulsbo Fire Department – Fire department serving the Poulsbo area, providing emergency fire and medical services.
14. Bainbridge Island Fire Department – Fire department serving Bainbridge Island, offering emergency fire and medical assistance.
15. Port Orchard Police Department – Law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining public safety in Port Orchard.
16. Bremerton Police Department – Police department serving Bremerton, providing law enforcement and emergency response.
17. Harrison Urgent Care – Urgent care clinic offering immediate medical attention for non-life-threatening conditions.
18. Poulsbo Village Medical Center – Medical center providing primary care, urgent care, and a range of healthcare services.
19. Peninsula Community Health Services – Community health center offering comprehensive medical and dental care to all individuals.
20. Kitsap Mental Health Services – Mental health agency providing counseling, therapy, and psychiatric services.

Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail Difficulty Notes

The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for paddlers of all skill levels. With over 300 miles of shoreline, the trail provides a diverse range of experiences, from calm and protected waters to more challenging open water crossings. Novice paddlers can enjoy exploring the sheltered bays and estuaries, while experienced paddlers can test their skills in the more exposed areas. The trail also offers a variety of launch points and camping options, allowing paddlers to customize their journey based on their abilities and preferences. Overall, the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail provides a balanced mix of challenges and rewards, making it an ideal destination for both beginners and seasoned paddlers.

Features And Attractions

1. Point No Point Lighthouse: Located in Hansville, this historic lighthouse offers stunning views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

2. Port Gamble: A charming historic town with Victorian-era buildings, Port Gamble offers scenic views of the Hood Canal and is a great place to explore local history.

3. Manchester State Park: This beautiful park features a sandy beach, forested trails, and views of the Seattle skyline across the Puget Sound.

4. Illahee State Park: Situated on the eastern shore of the Kitsap Peninsula, this park offers picturesque views of the Puget Sound, as well as opportunities for hiking, beachcombing, and wildlife watching.

5. Blake Island State Park: Accessible by boat, this island offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline, as well as hiking trails, camping facilities, and a Native American cultural center.

6. Poulsbo: Known as “Little Norway,” Poulsbo is a charming waterfront town with Scandinavian-inspired architecture, shops, and restaurants. The views of Liberty Bay are particularly scenic.

7. Bainbridge Island: Just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island offers beautiful views of the Puget Sound, as well as historic sites like the Bloedel Reserve and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

8. Hood Canal Bridge: This floating bridge connects the Kitsap Peninsula to the Olympic Peninsula and offers panoramic views of the Hood Canal and the surrounding mountains.

9. Dyes Inlet: This picturesque inlet is known for its stunning sunsets and is a popular spot for boating, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

10. Silverdale Waterfront Park: Located in Silverdale, this park offers scenic views of Dyes Inlet, as well as a beach, picnic areas, and a playground.

11. Bremerton Marina: Situated in downtown Bremerton, the marina offers beautiful views of the Sinclair Inlet, as well as access to shops, restaurants, and the USS Turner Joy Museum Ship.

12. Gig Harbor: While technically not on the Kitsap Peninsula, Gig Harbor is a nearby waterfront town known for its scenic beauty, historic downtown, and stunning views of the Puget Sound.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be leashed and under control at all times.
2. Properly dispose of pet waste in designated areas.
3. Follow all local leash laws and regulations.
4. Respect wildlife and do not disturb their habitats.
5. No hunting or fishing in prohibited areas.
6. Observe seasonal restrictions on fishing and shellfish harvesting.
7. No littering – pack out all trash and dispose of it properly.
8. Camp only in designated camping areas and obtain necessary permits.
9. Follow all fire regulations and restrictions.
10. Respect private property and do not trespass.
11. Do not disturb or damage cultural or historical sites.
12. Follow all boating regulations and safety guidelines.
13. Be aware of and respect other water trail users.
14. Practice Leave No Trace principles.
15. Stay informed about weather conditions and be prepared for changing conditions.
16. Be aware of and follow any additional rules or guidelines specific to individual launch sites or parks along the water trail.

Seasonal Information

The Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail offers a unique and picturesque experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located in Washington State, this water trail encompasses over 300 miles of shoreline, including numerous bays, inlets, and islands. While the trail can be enjoyed year-round, there are certain times of the year that offer the best experiences.

One of the best times to visit the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is generally warm and pleasant, making it ideal for kayaking, paddleboarding, or boating. During this time, the water is also at its calmest, allowing for smooth and enjoyable paddling experiences. The summer months also offer longer daylight hours, giving visitors more time to explore the stunning coastline and its abundant wildlife.

However, it’s important to note that some areas of the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail may have seasonal closures. For example, certain beaches or parks may have restricted access during the nesting season of local bird populations. These closures are in place to protect the fragile ecosystems and ensure the safety of wildlife. It’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or visitor centers for any closures or restrictions before planning your trip.

Another popular time to visit the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is during the fall season, from September to November. The changing colors of the foliage create a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor activities. The cooler temperatures also make it more comfortable for hiking or biking along the trail. Fall is also a great time for birdwatching, as many migratory birds pass through the area during this season.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail are during the summer and fall months. These seasons offer pleasant weather, calm waters, and unique opportunities to explore the stunning coastline. However, it’s important to be aware of any seasonal closures or restrictions in place to protect the local wildlife and ecosystems. With proper planning and preparation, a visit to the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail promises unforgettable experiences and breathtaking natural beauty.


1. Waterfront Park (Bainbridge Island): Wheelchair accessible ramp and accessible restrooms available.
2. Illahee State Park (Bremerton): Accessible parking, picnic areas, and restrooms.
3. Manchester State Park (Port Orchard): Accessible parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and a paved trail to the beach.
4. Port Gamble Bay (Port Gamble): Accessible parking, picnic areas, and restrooms available.
5. Point No Point County Park (Hansville): Accessible parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and a paved trail to the beach.
6. Kitsap Memorial State Park (Poulsbo): Accessible parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and a paved trail to the beach.
7. Silverdale Waterfront Park (Silverdale): Wheelchair accessible ramp, accessible restrooms, and paved trails along the waterfront.
8. Scenic Beach State Park (Seabeck): Accessible parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and a paved trail to the beach.
9. Twanoh State Park (Belfair): Accessible parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and a paved trail to the beach.
10. Jarstad Park (Gig Harbor): Wheelchair accessible ramp, accessible restrooms, and picnic areas available.

Safety Information

1. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times – Ensure your safety by wearing a PFD while on the water.
2. Check weather conditions before heading out – Stay informed about the weather forecast to avoid unexpected storms or hazardous conditions.
3. Be aware of tides and currents – Understand the tidal patterns and currents in the area to plan your trip accordingly.
4. Carry a marine chart or map – Have a detailed map or chart of the water trail to navigate effectively and avoid getting lost.
5. Inform someone about your trip plans – Let someone know about your itinerary, including your expected time of return, in case of emergencies.
6. Stay hydrated and bring enough water – Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated during your journey.
7. Pack essential safety equipment – Bring items such as a whistle, flashlight, first aid kit, and a communication device for emergencies.
8. Be cautious of boat traffic – Stay alert and be aware of other boats or vessels in the area to avoid collisions.
9. Avoid alcohol and drugs – Stay sober while on the water to maintain clear judgment and reaction times.
10. Respect wildlife and their habitats – Observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural environment.
11. Practice Leave No Trace principles – Minimize your impact on the environment by packing out all trash and leaving the area as you found it.
12. Know your limits and paddle within your abilities – Choose routes and distances that match your skill level to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
13. Dress appropriately for the conditions – Wear suitable clothing and footwear for the weather and water temperature.
14. Stay updated on local regulations and permits – Familiarize yourself with any specific rules or permits required for certain areas along the water trail.
15. Take a paddling skills course – Enhance your paddling skills and knowledge by taking a course or seeking guidance from experienced paddlers.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is of significant importance due to its ecological significance and the need to protect its natural resources. The water trail encompasses a diverse range of habitats, including estuaries, wetlands, and marine environments, which support a wide variety of plant and animal species. These habitats are crucial for the survival and reproduction of numerous species, including migratory birds, salmon, and marine mammals.

Efforts are being made to conserve and protect the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail and its surrounding ecosystems. Conservation organizations, government agencies, and local communities are working together to implement measures that ensure the sustainability of the water trail. These measures include the establishment of protected areas, the implementation of best management practices, and the promotion of responsible recreational activities.

One of the key conservation concerns for the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is the protection of water quality. Pollution from various sources, such as stormwater runoff and boating activities, can have detrimental effects on the health of the water trail’s ecosystems. Efforts are being made to reduce pollution through the implementation of stormwater management practices, public education campaigns, and the enforcement of regulations.

Additionally, the conservation status of the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is closely tied to the preservation of its shoreline habitats. These habitats provide critical nesting and foraging areas for numerous bird species and support a diverse array of plant and animal life. Conservation efforts focus on preserving and restoring these shoreline habitats by implementing measures such as shoreline stabilization, invasive species removal, and the protection of sensitive areas.

Overall, the conservation status of the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail is a priority for ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of its ecosystems. Through collaborative efforts and ongoing conservation initiatives, the goal is to protect and preserve the natural resources and biodiversity of this unique water trail for future generations.

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