HIKE OF THE MONTH: Greenbank Farm
Feast on inspiring maritime and mountain views
This historic farm was once destined to become a 700 home self-contained community. But, thanks to rallying local residents, it’s now a living history farm, cultural community center and scenic and recreational gem. Straddling the narrowest point on Whidbey Island, numerous trails traverse the sprawling farm.
From dairying to the largest loganberry farm in the United States, Greenbank has had a productive and flavorful history on Washington’s largest island. But in the 1990s wine producers Chateau Ste. Michelle wanted to turn this scenic and serene piece of our agricultural heritage into a sprawling suburban housing tract. Luckily for those of us who believe that farmland is better off unpaved, a large consortium of local citizens convinced the vintner to negotiate with the Trust for Public Land instead, which had far nobler intentions for this 522-acre tract of rural beauty.
The Trust in turn sold the land to Island County, the Port of Coupeville and the Nature Conservancy to be preserved and managed as a living history farm for all to enjoy. Dog owners in particular enjoy Greenbank Farm. If well-behaved and non-aggressive, dogs are allowed to roam the premises (away from the farm buildings) unfettered from their leashes. Children will be fond of Greenbank’s horses, farm buildings, old farm equipment and the small farm pond usually hosting ducks and geese.
The southern half of the farm consists of rolling pasture. Several trails traverse the open expanse and they all make for fine ambling. The center one, however, follows along a ridge crest granting the best viewing. Gallivant for a half mile across the grassy ridge grazing on views east across Saratoga Passage to Camano Island, Three Fingers and Mount Pilchuck; and west to wildlife rich Lake Hancock (closed to public access) and across Admiralty Inlet to the craggy eastern front of the Olympic Mountains. A walk around the meadow’s periphery will yield you at least 1.5 miles. A trail (old farm road) runs along the field’s northern edge. If you follow it west it leads to an alternative trailhead and the beginning of the farm’s forest trails.
Try out this hike
Location: Whidbey Island
Land Agency: Port of Coupeville
Roundtrip: More than 4.0 miles of trails
Elevation gain: Up to 280 feet
Contact: Port of Coupeville
Notes: Some trails are open to equestrians; some trails are in an off-leash dog area
Directions: From Clinton Ferry Terminal on Whidbey Island, drive north on SR 525 for 17 miles to Greenbank. Then turn right onto Wonn Road and proceed for .2 mile turning left into large parking area for Greenbank Farm.
About the author
Craig Romano, is an award winning author of more than 20 hiking guidebooks, including “Urban Trails Everett” (Mountaineers Books) which includes detailed descriptions on this hike and many others on Whidbey and Camano Islands.
See the waterways of Whidbey Island on the trails built at this historic farm in Coupeville. The port authority there now owns the land.
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