Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve

19235 Stavis Bay Road NW, Seabeck, WA 98380

Size: 184 Acres

Region: Central District

Features: Saltwater beach access and walking trails. No restroom facilities available at this site.

Note: No animals allowed at this park. Public shellfish harvesting is prohibited. Please visit the Park Rules & FAQs for more information. 

Park Rules & FAQs

Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve Trail Map

Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve Map

Trails: The trail system in the Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve may change slightly over a period of time due to the ever changing flow of the creeks through the estuary.

Main Access Trail: Begins across the road from the parking lot. It is roughly one mile long and sloping downhill. One can follow the access road through an alder and big leaf maple tree forest or continue through to the Sawmill Trail.

Sawmill Trail (0.3 miles): This trail follows an old logging road through a large sword fern, alder, and mixed conifer forest to the Margaret Trail. Margaret Trail (0.4 miles): The narrow trail follows the side of the hill until cutting steeply down to sea level. It passes through a coniferous forest with a few large cedar trees.

Stump House Trail (0.25 miles): The trail starts in the meadow across from the old barn. Part of the meadow is quite wet. The trail ends at the Stump House (a large hollowed out cedar stump with a roof.)

Maple Tree Trail: This beautiful trail begins by the barn and follows an old roadbed. It continues along Boyce Creek in an easterly direction. This flat, easy trail goes through an alder and big leaf maple forest with a small meadow and connects to the River Loop Trail.

River Trail Loop (0.25 miles): This trail travels through a mixed forest with large sword ferns and connects back to the end of the Maple Tree Trail.

Beach House Trail: This trail follows the old roadbed across Boyce Creek through a meadow and forest adjacent to the marsh. At the beach house there is access to the beach on Hood Canal. During low tide, avoid walking on the sand dollar beds in the mud.

Ridge Trail (0.5 miles): Behind the beach house, and to the left, this trail winds up several steep hills and through a forest of conifers, alders, and big leaf maples.

Guillemot Cove History
In 1939, the Reynolds family discovered Guillemot Cove while walking along the waterfront. Mr. Reynolds was a bird watcher and he took his family on weekend trips, often to Guillemot Cove. There, the family would explore, and sight many varied species of birds. The cove, woods, or the near-by stream, which ran though a swamp, was the perfect and undisturbed habitat of hundreds of birds and other woodland creatures. That same year, the family bought 80 acres of Guillemot Cove property, and gradually bought surrounding parcels of land, until it totaled 158 acres.

The cove had originally been named Frenchman’s Cove, because a Frenchman named Henri Querrette had previously owned a cabin on the northern shore of the cove. On some maps, it had even been called Brown’s Cove, but the family renamed it for the black and white bird that they often sighted.

When the Reynolds family purchased the Guillemot Cove property, it was run-down. Once open areas were overgrown with alders, and abandoned shacks built by farmers in the 1800’s (who also had cleared the once open areas), were falling into ruins. The Stump House, which legend said a criminal called Dirty Thompson had built to hide out in from the law, was then without a roof. The family spent summers there cleaning up/ the useless shacks were burned down. The previously cleared spots, which were over-grown, were won back with difficulty. The scrubby alders were felled and pigs were used to root out the stumps.

In the possession of the Reynolds were six pigs, a few milk cows, sheep, and one or two horses, so the family built a barn. The cows were milked every morning, and cream was carted to Bremerton, were it was sold.

In 1946, the Reynolds built a beach house as their summer residence. The family milled their own lumber from the woods to build it. Some of this lumber was also used to build the barn. From the famous springboard red cedar trees came wood for the interior finishing. These springboard trees were logged in the 1890s. The loggers would cut a notch in base of a tree, the insert a board in the notch. They would then stand on the board in order to reach the place in the tree above where the tree flared out into the roots. On many stumps in Guillemot, you can still see the notches for the springboard, including the Stump House.

The Reynolds were ready to retire in 1993, and so the property was up for sale. But the family was worried about someone developing the land. According to the zoning ordinances, as many as 175 residences could be erected. But then the county took an interest, and the Reynolds lowered the price to enable the Trust for Public Land to purchase the 158 acres of Guillemot Cove property.

Guillemot Cove is presently a nature reserve. According to Megan Sheppard who has visited Guillemot Cove often, "The scenery is beautiful, and such things as the Stump House are interesting. Now I enjoy it even more, knowing about the special history and all the work that has been put in towards Guillemot Cove."

From Hwy 3, take Newberry Hill exit; travel to Seabeck Holly Road; turn right. Drive to Miami Beach Road; turn right - drive to "Y"; veer left onto Stavis Bay Road. Drive 4.5 miles to the entrance and parking lot.