The trail at Camano Forest Preserve winds through a typical evergreen forest with plenty of sword ferns, and maple trees that are lovely in autumn. Originally set aside as Camp Lake and managed by the Department of Natural Resources, it is now managed and maintained by the Friends of Camano Island and Island County.
Here, you'll enjoy a moderately steep climb over 200 feet as it winds up above a residential area. After a half mile, come to a junction and bear right onto the East Forest Loop. Relax as the trail dips up and down, resulting in gradual elevation gains.
This trail, for the most part, is in good condition, although in some low areas, the tread can be muddy or covered in a thin layer of water during wet periods. As you meander through the forest, make sure to stay to the right at the next two junctions to stay on the East Forest Loop. Though the trail is marked in some places with yellow arrows and diamonds, the signage is often confusing, missing, or vandalized.
The next junction marks the halfway point, where you're 1.2 miles from the trailhead. Make a left here to start the hike back on a gradual downhill grade. On the way, pass two junctions, keeping right on both. Look for fungi growing on logs near the trail until you come to the seventh junction in the loop. Turn left here and walk only a short distance on a wide trail to come back to the first junction after 1.8 miles. Take a right and hike downhill until you reach the trailhead once again.
If you enter the park through the Camano Ridge trailhead, you can avoid the steep climb from the east trailhead described here. The park has many trails to enjoy, over 6 miles (with some retracing off steps) if you see visit them all.
WTA Pro Tip: Less than half a mile down the hill from the trailhead, there is an access point to the Kristoferson Beaver Marsh with a extremely short trail out to a viewing platform. If you are looking for a local place to eat lunch or dinner, try Jimmy’s Pizza and Pasta in Stanwood, an Italian restaurant that has a great reputation in the community.