Over the past five years we’ve visited Oro Bay, located on the southwest corner of Anderson Island, about half a dozen times. We enjoy the rural tranquility, the scenery – made dramatic by the derelict Ocean City ferry – and the wildlife. It’s one of our go-to South Sound locations.
We typically anchor for a night, maybe kayaking or taking the dinghy for a spin…but mostly we hang out on the boat to enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s a small bay, with two yacht club outstations and a private marina. We’ve read about nearby parks but never took the time to fully research the access. So, to us Oro Bay was mostly a place to anchor – and not a go ashore place. Perfectly fine with us.
Recently, while visiting some of our other South Sound favorites – Gig Harbor and Jarrell Cove Marine State Park – we planned another visit to Oro and decided to look a little further into accessing Jacobs Point Park. It’s not hard – the Waggoner Cruising Guide has all the info you need! As stated in the Guide, “Access is via a wooden staircase located north of the two red buoys.” *
We paddled our kayaks to the beach, found the set of stairs, and voila! A beautiful trail awaited. This 2+ mile trail system (one main trail with a few smaller viewpoint spurs) is well-maintained by Anderson Island Parks and Recreation.
The Park is 82 acres, including picnic areas with nice, new tables, a wetlands area with boardwalks, spectacular tree fungi, an uncommon 200-year-old Gary Oak tree, the Jacobs Homestead (chimney only), and the site of an old brickyard…as well as some fantastic views of the bay, Mt. Rainier, and Nisqually. We saw deer, a snake, a multitude of birds, and many varieties of blooming wild flowers and trees. The trail is wide, gains zero elevation, and is mostly debris-free – we would call it rustic, as it is not overly groomed. (A good thing, in our opinion.)
The Waggoner Guide mentions the proliferation of poison oak…true! Nick has received medical treatment for poison oak several times, including a helicopter evacuation while firefighting in California and a Christmas day spent in an emergency room. Point being…we really appreciate knowing about this ahead of time! (Signs are posted in the park.)
The Guide also mentions a second park in close proximity: “Andy’s Park at the northwest corner of the bay provides 180 acres of wetlands, tidal estuary, and forest, with a 2-mile nature trail loop.” We look forward to exploring this park on our next visit.
Jacobs Point Park was a perfect, easy hike through beautiful sun-dappled forest, historic landmarks, and natural habitat. Especially nice on an 80+ degree day in South Puget Sound!
*As of this writing, we noted only one red channel marker buoy.
Janine & Nick Mott
Waggoner Field Correspondents