Some of the best hikes in Washington are on the beautiful San Juan Islands, surrounded by the serene Pacific Ocean and 360-degree views. Hiking in Washington is guaranteed to bring breathtaking mountaintop views but also a glimpse into the wildlife and native environment that runs along the North Pacific Coast. The San Juan Islands offer a variety of difficulty and diversity from mountains to more relaxed hikes around the beaches or lakes. These hikes in Washington offer something beautiful for everyone, no matter what your physical ability!
SAN JUAN ISLAND
Mount Finlayson of the American Camp National Park offers several trailheads, including Jakle’s Lagoon Trail, which traverses through a dense fern-covered cedar forest and meanders down to the featured Jackle’s Lagoon. Walk along the pebble-covered beach looking across San Juan Channel to Lopez Island before returning to the main path. After a short, steep ascent to the summit along the ridge trail, you will arrive on the other side of the peninsula, looking across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the majestic Olympic Mountains. Take in the iconic Cattle Point Lighthouse, and on a clear day, Mount Ranier in the distance. Scan the waters for whales, the skies for eagles, and keep an ear out for the bark of sea lions that congregate on the southern tip of San Juan Island.
Mount Young & Bell Point Loop Trail
English Camp National Park offers one of the premier hikes in Washington. Mount Young and the Bell Point Loop Trail . From the parking lot, circle the peninsula along the coast circling Garrison and Westcott Bays toward the encampment, and then continue past to Mount Young. Bring a packed picnic lunch from Tucker House Inn and enjoy million dollar views at the summit, looking across to Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula to the west. Roche Harbor stands prominent in the foreground, while Stuart and Spieden Islands are to the northeast. Enjoy the beautifully colored wildflowers along the trail in the spring, and take a short detours on your way to the overlook visiting English Camp cemetery. Stroll down the backside of the hill through Department of Natural Resources land and end up on West Valley Road.
Lime Kiln State Park
The best place to view whales from the shore is at Lime Kiln State Park. Soak up some history with a stroll to the Lime Kilns and the picturesque lighthouse. Stop at the lighthouse and check with the docent about the last whale sighting. You can bring a book and hang out for the afternoon, waiting for a whale to swim by. Loop back around and hike to Deadman’s Bay, a great place for tide pooling. There are guaranteed amazing views no matter what the weather, with the park offering a great vantage for storm watching. This park is one of the most photographed spots on the island.
Spencer Spit State Park
A great place for digging for shellfish (in season), Spencer Spit State Park is a premier destination on Lopez Island for hiking in Washington. Take a short stroll from the parking lot to the “spit,” where in low tide, you can almost walk across the water to Frost Island! This is one of the few state parks in the San Juan Islands accessible by automobile!
Agate Beach County Park
One of the best sandy beach hikes in Washington is at Agate Beach County Park. A sandy stretch at the southernmost tip of Lopez Island has extensive views of Iceberg Point. At Iceburg Point, you can embark on a trail system with scenes of the Olympic Peninsula. A serene place to let the day pass, bring your lunch and relax on the quiet shores, letting nature soak in and rejuvenate!
Hikes in Washington are available throughout the San Juan Islands, from the main isle to its archipelago neighbors. There are a number of trailheads to access the summit of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, the longest from the bottom at Cascade Lake or further up the hill at Mount Lake, Little Summit, or Summit Lake. You can also drive straight to the top if hiking in Washington isn’t quite your forte. No matter how you get to the top, the views are unparalleled. This is the highest point in the San Juan Islands! To the north, you can see the Canadian border, to the east Bellingham and Anacortes, and to the south Mount Rainier. In the foreground, you will see the mountain lakes and the trail that you used. You will also see Sucia Island State Park, Lummi Island, and a cluster of other islands and marine parks.
There are two trailheads to the peak of Turtleback Mountain, one off Deer Harbor Road and the other off Crow Valley Road. The Deer Harbor Road trail offers a steep ridge trail ascent to the top, and numerous side trails offer amazing overlooks. There are benches dotted along the trail where you can just sit and take it all in. Keep an eye out for the cages where the Gerry Oak seedlings are taking hold. Waldron Overlook is one of our favorite places for a picnic, with perfectly suited stumps and logs available to sit and watch the eagles. They put on quite a show doing their acrobatics in the thermals! Listen to sound of their wings as they change direction. If you don’t feel like hiking back along the road, put your thumb out and hitchhike!
AFTER YOUR HIKES IN WASHINGTON
After a long morning, afternoon, or full day hiking, come back to Tucker House Inn in Friday Harbor for a luxurious retreat. If you brought your dogs along for the hike, bring them back to our pet-friendly inn to relax alongside you! Dog biscuits will be waiting.