Kickin’ It on Kiket Island – The Kukutali Preserve

Last weekend I was sitting at home in La Conner enjoy the sun streaking down through the tall windows. Wind was blowing strong and pushing the trees around with an invisible force. I called out to my mom, “Lets go for a hike!” She popped her head out from around the corner, agreed, and we hopped in the car!

We started squabbling about pros and cons of different hikes in and around La Conner until Kiket Island came up. With only a less than 10 minute drive from downtown La Conner, and absolutely stunning views, it was a no-brainer!


What makes Kiket Island so special is the fact that it has been protected for so long. These hikes are on the Kukutali Preserve and opened up to the public in June of 2014. This means the land is so lush with a lively ecosystem and tons of wildlife.



There is a small parking lot with a long gravel trail that opens up to a beach and a small lagoon. There are sweet, thoughtfully designed interpretive signs to help educate you about your surroundings. If you keep walking on any of the three possible trails, and then a stretch of a pebble beach,  you reach a wide open peninsula with a rocky, sea shell beach. All three of the trail options are beautiful, different and with almost no elevation gain.  See if you can spot Deception Pass bridge at several different viewpoints!

  • Center trail: a gravel roadway across the island, the center trail has moderate elevation gain and loss, and is the most direct route to the west end of the island.
  • North trail: a peaceful forest trail through old growth, the North trail gains the most elevation, takes a little longer to walk, and offers interesting views at the west end.
  • South trail: the easiest of the trails, the south trail avoids most of the elevation gain as it wanders through broad leafed trees along the south side.

The most special part of this place for me is seeing all of the huge Madrona trees intermixed with Evergreens. Madronas are a sacred tree for the Swinomish Tribe and very cool to see in abundance.  I also loved looking at all of the interesting shapes of driftwood.


Everyone who visits is urged to stay off the meadows (Flagstaff Island) and on the trails to help keep this place so lush, but there are some small mysteries. Like an old beached boat! Go for a beach walk and lets see if you can find it!

To plan your hike, please visit the Swinomish Tribe website for trail map, descriptions, hours and more details.

kukutali_preservie_kiket_island_laconnerHere are some things to know:

  • Visiting hours are from 6:30 a.m. to dusk (sunset)
  • People hiking only. No bicycles, pets, or horses
  • – Harvesting of beach resources (such as clams) is by Tribal members only (with Tribal permit)
  • Discover Pass required to park in parking area
  • No overnight parking
  • Do not park on Snee-oosh Road
  • Please stay off of Flagstaff Island, on the west end of the Preserve, as it is a fragile and endangered lowland meadow habitat
  • Please stay off Kiket Island’s north shore and Kiket lagoon area as they are fragile ecosystems
  • Non-motorized boat access only at southern beaches except when seasonally closed

by Sage Burgmeier
guest blogger, la conner hs student