Bainbridge Island, WA: Gazzam Beach Hike

This shady trail on Bainbridge Island's west side drops 370 feet in less than 0.75 miles and lands at a small, secluded beach.
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This shady trail on Bainbridge Island's west side drops 370 feet in less than 0.75 miles and lands at a small, secluded beach.

While this 1.5-mile out-and-back is a doozy in terms of Bainbridge Island elevation--the nearby high point is just 30 feet above this hike's start point--it is short, and the payoff is a fun, rock-skip-ready beach that's less than 15 minutes from the trailhead.
Begin by following the wide, graded path heading west from the trailhead and bypass a junction that leads south toward Gazzam Lake. The trail heads due west for 0.4 miles before curving north and beginning to drop downhill. Stay to the right as the trail dips into a small ravine, bypassing the downhill branch which tempts you toward a dead end. There are two big switchbacks near mile 0.6. Watch your footing as the surface is steep and can be slick with damp leaves. A mellow hillside traverse follows and then the trail steepens further and weaves between towering trees as it approaches the beach with a few final flights of beam-reinforced steps. A twisted tree protects the base of the trail from tidal erosion, but the last step to the pebbly tideline requires a bit of scrambling.
Enjoy scouting for anemones and looking for eagles soaring above the opposite shoreline before backtracking uphill toward the trailhead. Because the return trip is a steady climb, allow for a few extra minutes despite its short distance.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.3

Waypoints

BIB001

Location: 47.624953, -122.56559

There are a few parking spots, but no other services at the small, dirt trailhead at the end of Marshall Road. Begin by hiking west on the wide, graded path.

BIB002

Location: 47.62491, -122.56798

Continue straight at this 3-way junction marked by a kiosk and trail signs. For a short detour, turn left here and add a 5-minute out-and-back to an overlook of Gazzam Lake.

BIB003

Location: 47.626862, -122.57516

Shortly after the trail begins descending it dips into a wash. Follow the path uphill and to the right, bypassing a trail that leads downhill to a dead end at a private property line in about 100 yards.

BIB004

Location: 47.627888, -122.575622

Watch your footing on this big, steep switchback. Wet leaves can make this shady trail slick and this is one of the route's steeper sections.

BIB005

Location: 47.628366, -122.576791

Look for a small, wooden bench on the trail's left side. Just after passing it, there are several sets of steep steps marking the final descent to the beach. Though this short hike doesn't necessitate a rest on the way down, consider stopping here to catch your breath on the way up.

BIB006

Location: 47.628481, -122.577542

Tide swings can be significant and high tide will limit the amount of beach accessible for a rest or picnic. Unless it's really high, there should be enough ground to stop and skip a few rocks.

Gazzam Lake Trailhead

Location: 47.624938, -122.565461

The small trailhead is also an access point for Gazzam Lake.

Coyote

Location: 47.624982, -122.565515

Dogs are allowed on the trail, but signs recommend leashing them.

Trail

Location: 47.624953, -122.566856

The path is wide and graded near the trailhead.

Junction

Location: 47.624895, -122.568015

A map kiosk and trail signs mark the junction where hikers access Gazzam Lake. This hike continues past the kiosk toward the beach.

Switchback

Location: 47.627874, -122.575568

The trail's biggest switchback drops quickly through an open ravine. You'll traverse the hillside up ahead on a flatter trail.

Bench

Location: 47.628322, -122.576684

Above the steps that descend toward the beach, this bench is a great spot to rest during the climb.

Steps

Location: 47.628452, -122.577263

Climbing from the beach on one of several stairways.

Beach

Location: 47.628452, -122.577478