Written by Jennifer Furber. Published in September 2018.
Fall in the San Juan Islands exhibits one of the most vibrant display of color I’ve seen in over a decade. Maybe the unseasonably hot summer and sudden switch to cool autumn mornings has something to do with the vibrancy that rivals New England’s foliage. A fabulous place to view the colors of the season is at the summit of the 131-acre Mount Grant Preserve.
360 Degree View
Friday Harbor’s 736-foot high Mount Grant Preserve has a reward for the mile hike to the ridgetop. Atop the high viewing peak with 360-degree views take in Washington’s favorite volcanoes: Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and Glacier Peak. Also, enjoy the views of other San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, Canada’s Gulf Islands, and the Olympic Mountains.
The 131-acre preserve is open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians each day from dawn to dusk and is located between Mount Dallas and Cady Mountain on San Juan Island.
A fun fact to keep in mind during your hike, this preservation came-to due to a campaign through San Juan Preservation Trust. Successfully raising over $4.2 million, they were able to purchase and maintain the land and manage the acres with trails, driving access and other activities. The summit is just one of a number of scenic destinations in the islands. However, it is the only one on San Juan Island that combine breathtaking views with drive-up accessibility.
Directions to Mount Grant
From the San Juan Community Theatre, follow Guard Street out of town. Guard Street becomes Beaverton Valley Rd, which becomes West Valley Rd. At approximately 5 miles out of town, turn left and look for Mount Grant parking, just before the closed gate.
Stay at Tucker House Inn
If you come to San Juan Island for foliage views, make Tucker House Inn your home-away-from-home. After a long day of hiking through ridgelines and meadows, relax in Friday Harbor’s peaceful bed and breakfast. Treat your sore muscles with an in-cottage massage or enjoy a fine meal at Coho Restaurant. Either way, you’ll be able to sleep in a comfortable bed for a relaxing night’s sleep. Wake up rejuvenated with a gourmet breakfast.