This blog covers trips from the book and other favorites. Contact Rob in Seattle: or 206-465-7167


Paddling Deception Pass State Park - Trip #28

Only 1.5 hours from Seattle, Deception Pass State Park is one of my favorite destinations.  It's known for it's swift tidal current and rapids which squeeze through a narrow a canyon with an large rock island in the middle.  Currents can run up to 8 knots and changes directions a few times a day.  River like features such as whirlpools, eddylines, standing waves, and boils draw experienced paddlers, clubs, and kayak schools to the pass to learn and enjoy the water.

DP as we call it, also has varied terrain which can appeal to paddlers of all skill levels.  Not far from the fast curent areas are protected coves and bays, pocket beaches, caves, extensive kelp beds, rock formations, and sandy beaches. One can paddle in the park without ever sensing any current or difficult paddlling.  I love to take my SUP there and when lucky surf up to 5' standing waves in Canoe Pass on the ebb at lower tides. The waves build when strong NW swell coming in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca collides with the ebb current in the pass.

Most common put-ins are Bowman Bay and Cornet Bay.  Both are protected launches each with their own features.  Those wanting to travel through the pass or play in the rapids use a Current Table to determine the best time to travel, which launch to use, etc.  For example, if the current is flooding (coming in) but will taper off by noon, you'll launch at Bowman Bay, take the flood through the pass and when the current tapers off and begins to ebb (going out) you'd take the current back out towards Bowman Bay.

Terms to know:
Ebb: outgoing current
Flood: incoming current
Slack: period of little or no current in between each cycle. Lasts 5-30 minutes.
Current Tables:  Find online or in print in most tide table books. Sample Here.

Tip: If launching from Bowman Bay, portage over the sandy isthmus on the south side of the bay to more easily access the current below Canoe Pass.

Here's a few images from less common perspectives in the pass.

Learn more
 about my book Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips. I also offer SUP and Kayak lessons available throughout the year at Salmon Bay Paddle. Questions about paddling on the Salish Sea, give me a holler anytime at or 206-465-7167

Support the Washington Water Trails Association and the Cascadia Marine Trail. The wwta works to create and protect access for paddlers on Puget Sound as well as provide an extensive network of over 60 paddle-in camping sites -

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