Afterglow Vista, also known as the McMillin Memorial Mausoleum, is one of the best things to do in Roche Harbor—especially as we near Halloween—as the trail leads you through an ancient cemetery up to a haunting open-air memorial to the family of John S. McMillin, a leader in the limestone trade discovered in the late 1800s on San Juan Island. McMillin designed and constructed this structure himself with a deep level of symbolism to represent the stages of life and personal matters among his family.
Autumn is particularly beautiful on San Juan Island, and the businesses and small community of Friday Harbor love getting into the Halloween spirit. For those who may be traveling with family in tow, our San Juan Island Inn Collection has a lovely selection of accommodations to suit group getaways. We provide a beautiful breakfast each morning, delivered to your door, which is always a welcome addition when you have your hands full with little ones.
An Autumn Hike to Afterglow Vista
Weaving your way through a beautiful island forest and past ancient gravestones, the Afterglow Vista hike in Roche Harbor is a perfect activity during autumn, especially as we inch towards Halloween. The cemetery along the way holds remains of people that worked at the Lime Kiln Company, and there are plaques with tidbits of information here and there and signs pointing you to the massive burial structure of the McMillin family.
As you finally approach the giant memorial at Afterglow Vista (about a half mile from the cemetery grounds), it feels a bit like you’ve stepped into a period piece from another time. The large limestone columns tower up to the trees, and the light filters into the rotunda creating enchanting shadows. The stone dining table in the center is symbolic of the family gathering for dinner, with eight chairs representing each member, with the exception of one for the son that renounced the family’s Methodist religion.
The Afterglow Vista hike is an easy trek. There’s a slight incline here and there, but more often than not, hikers of all ages can navigate this winding trail with ease. If you’re traveling with older kids, they might be very intrigued by the mysterious nature of the mausoleum as the destination.
More Family-Friendly Things to do in Roche Harbor:
You’ll find ten miles of trails in this area of the island departing from the Roche Harbor Resort and connecting Mount Young and the historical American Camp. These trails are off the beaten path and away from car traffic—which can put your mind at ease when hiking with younger ones or pets. The Roche Harbor Marina is a great place to take in the beautiful views with the sailboats and yachts in the background. Grab a bite to eat at the Lime Kiln Cafe before setting off to Afterglow Vista or the nearby San Juan Island Sculpture Park—also a fantastic place for kids to run, play, and build their own outdoor art.
Family-Friendly Lodging on San Juan Island
The Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites offer family-friendly accommodations that will be the best backdrop to create lasting memories during an island getaway. Our Inn sits right across from Sunken Park, a local spot for kids of all ages to play with a basketball court, an expansive grassy area, and a playground with slides and swings. Our Inn is just about 20 minutes to Roche Harbor and activities like Afterglow Vista and more family-friendly hikes.
One of the best group gathering options is the San Juan Suite, which occupies the entire first floor of the historic Harrison House. The spacious, three-bedroom, two-bath suite is full of old-world charm. This suite has architectural features of the 1905 historic Craftsman-style house, but all the modern amenities and conveniences for a comfortable stay, including hardwood floors, a formal dining room, a hot tub, and a cozy remote-controlled gas fireplace in the large family room.