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Washington’s Triangle of Fire: What to Know When Visiting

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If you’re visiting Washington State and want to see some of the country’s most beautiful coastal scenery, be sure to add Fort Casey State Park and Fort Flagler to your itinerary. These two parks are located in the so-called Triangle of Fire, which has seen more than its fair share of natural disasters.

Washington state parks are some of the best in the country, and this site features a blend of military history and outdoor adventures.

Fort Casey was built in the late 1800s as part of the country’s coastal defense system. The fort is now a state park open to the public for camping, picnicking, hiking, and beachcombing. Visitors can also explore the tunnels and bunkers that were once used to protect the coast from enemy attacks.

What is the Triangle of Fire, Washington?

Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island
Zack Frank/ Adobe Stock

Located on Whidbey Island in Northwest Washington, Fort Casey is a relic of the wars that our fathers and grandfathers fought on our behalf.

Constructed to protect the shores of the Western United States against a Pacific attack, the massive build-ups were deemed no longer necessary after World War II. Over time, they began to crumble and fall, but their history remained.

When active, Fort Casey was part of a group of forts called the “Triangle of Fire.” What makes Fort Casey unique, however, compared to the other two forts in the triangle, is that the fort itself is being restored.

Best of all, accessing the watchtowers, massive guns, and even the lighthouse that overlooks Admiralty Inlet at the forts is easy for kids and adults who may have a disability. However, there are still challenging climbs and warning signs that tell you that a fall could actually cause death. That means adventure awaits!

What Makes Fort Casey Special?

Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island
Zack Frank/ Adobe Stock

For a nominal fee, you get all-day access to this nearly 500-acre park and the other state parks on Whidbey Island. An annual pass allows unlimited access to all of Washington’s state parks if you plan an extended stay.

The expansive parade grounds are the first thing you’ll notice when entering Fort Casey. Even in the depths of winter, the lawn is green, lush, and inviting. Go ahead—let the kids find a hill and have a great time!

Exploring the ruins of the fort is self-guided all year. You can walk up the massive concrete steps that take you high in the air where watchmen once searched the waters for enemy ships and submarines. Crawl into a machine gun bunker and look through your grandfather’s eyes at what the world looked like during the war.

You can explore numerous storage facilities and underground bunkers and even walk down to the nearly 11,000 feet of rugged saltwater shoreline to search for hermit crabs if the tide is out!

A Clear Day Brings Forth Nature’s Majesty!

A Deer Doe at Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island, in Island County, Washington state
Zack Frank/ Adobe Stock

When the clouds and fog clear away and the sun breaks through, the landscapes that surround Fort Casey are magnificent!

The Cascade Mountains are to the east, where Mount Baker stands tall in snow-capped brilliance for much of the year. The Olympics and the Admiralty Inlet are to the southwest, the passageway between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

If you’re visiting during a beautiful summer day, from late May to September 1, volunteers with the local Fort Casey Battalion also offer guided tours of the two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns that are proudly on display.

The Inlet is a major shipping channel as many cargo ships are headed into Seattle or leaving for the open Pacific waters. You’ll also see many Navy and Coast Guard ships in the area and if you’re lucky, a submarine with a whole civilian escort will churn through the waters!

How do I get to Fort Casey?

Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island, in Island County, Washington state
Zack Frank/ Adobe Stock

The other place to go is the reconstructed fort on Whidbey Island, Washington, where visitors must take a boat. The best approach to getting to the park from Seattle is by ferry across the Puget River to Port Townsend.

If you want to avoid paying for a ferry, you may drive north across the island towards Deception Pass Bridge and then travel south towards the Park. The journey takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on your route.

You can take a ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton and drive about 10 minutes to this historic state park. If you’re coming from Whidbey Island, take the Keystone-Port Townsend Ferry and drive northeast for around 40 minutes.

Who owns Camp Casey?

In 2002, Seattle Pacific University acquired the Fort Casey Inn. The hotel is managed in conjunction with the Camp Casey Conference Center, which has various barracks, classrooms, auditoriums, mess rooms, and gyms.

The camp hosts various events, including children’s camps, business retreats, and community festivals within this historic state park.

Love Camping? You Can Camp at Fort Casey State Park!

Washington State, Fort Casey State Park, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, built 1903, along Admiralty Inlet
Danita Delimont/ Adobe Stock

Fort Casey State Park offers 21 standard tent sites and 14 utility sites with water and electricity. One restroom and one shower are also available.

If you schedule your visit well in advance, you can reserve one of the four pull-through campsites on the beach! Make sure you bring your boat as well, as two saltwater launches are available for a minimal fee.

If your stay is extended, you might also consider visiting Fort Warden and Fort Flagler, the other two forts that compose the old Triangle of Fire.

Many men walked the shores of Fort Casey to ensure the United States’ freedoms were protected. Touch the walls, look through the sights of a 10-inch gun, and you’ll glimpse those sacrifices when you visit this unique Washington location.

Activities at Fort Casey State Parks

A Canon in Fort Casey Historical State Park
Anna Photography/ Adobe Stock

State parks offer plenty of activities for visitors, including Fort Casey and its neighboring forts, Fort Warden and Fort Flagler. All three forts have historic guns on display, as well as various ruins to explore. There are also camping opportunities and boat launches at all three parks.

Watersports

There are two saltwater boat launches available, which offer a greater chance for fishing and other activities. Orcas may be seen near Fort Casey. You’re more likely to encounter one while on vacation in Puget Sound.

Boaters must first acquire an entry permit before departing, but an overnight pass may be obtained at the Paystation near the dock. Wearing a wetsuit for a view of the park’s stunning central region. The nearby Underwater Park is part of Fort Casey, which is an important scuba-diving destination in the area.

Hiking trails

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a 1,200-kilometer trek through some of America’s most beautiful regions. It connects a variety of environments and communities between Olympic National Park and Montana’s Rocky Mountains.

The Pacific Northwest Trail of the Admiralty Head Marine Preserve is accessible at Fort Casey National Wildlife Refuge. You might get ideas for exploring the PNT in four additional Washington state parks. Approximately 10,000 adventure backpackers attempt to complete their journey each year.

Interpretive opportunities

The Admiralty Head Lighthouse and the exhibits there chronicle the region’s history around Fort Casey Historic State Park. The Red Bluff lighthouse and a Fresnel lens are two examples of Native Americans in the area.

Between May 25 and October 30, a guided tour of Fort Casey State Park’s artillery is available. The Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion leads the 45-minute excursion.

Things to do near Fort Casey State Park

Fort Casey Historical State Park  is located on Whidbey Island, Washington
Anna Photography/ Adobe Stock

There are plenty of things to do near Fort Casey State Park! Firstly, the park sits near the inherently beautiful Whidbey Island, giving you an amazing view of Puget Sound, its Cascades, and Olympia.

Secondly, several miles of grass are ideal for relaxing picnics or quality time with family. If you’re looking for something more historic, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, completed in 1923, is an important landmark.

However, by 1932, the lighthouse was no longer in use because nearby lighthouses at Point Wilson and Marrowstone Point had been built. You can take guided tours at night while the lighthouse is closed or go to interpretive centers, which are usually closed for only a few months in the winter.

There are also many trails that you can explore- some of which go along the water. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the scenic views!

See Related: Best Travel Gifts for Backpackers

Best Places to Stay Near Fort Casey in Washington State

Fort Casey Historical State Park  is located on Whidbey Island, Washington
Anna Photography/ Adobe Stock

If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay near Fort Casey in Washington state, you’ll be spoiled for choice! There are a variety of accommodation options available, from camping and RV parks to inns and bed and breakfasts.

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, the Fort Casey Inn is a great option and offers lots of hotel options and hotels to book. It offers beautiful rooms with amazing views of Puget Sound. You’ll also be close to all the amenities that Fort Casey has to offer!

If you’re looking for something more affordable, Keystone RV Park is a great choice. It offers RV sites with full hookups and tent sites. You’ll be close to all the attractions that Fort Casey has to offer.

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FAQ

What is the triangle of fire?

The Triangle of Fire is a region in Washington that is especially prone to wildfires. The area includes the eastern part of the state, from the Cascade Range to the Columbia River. This region is dry and windy, which makes it ideal for wildfire conditions.

What happened at Fort Worden?

Fort Worden was an important coastal defense installation during World War II. It features a variety of concrete bunkers and gun emplacements that are open to the public today.

Can you go inside Fort Casey?

Yes, you can go inside. Fort Casey is a part of Fort Casey State Park in the Ebey Landing National Historic Area. The park is open year-round and offers free entry with a Discover pass. Fort Casey is home to three state parks: Fort Ebey, Fort Casey, and Fort Worden. The only one of the three that does not require an entry fee is Fort Casey.

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