The Pacific Northwest is notorious for it’s gray, rainy days. Luckily for our guests at Harrison House Suites, the San Juan Islands are in what’s known as a Rain Shadow. The Olympic mountains and Vancouver Island to our west provide a barrier for the low lying rain-filled clouds. The San Juan Island averages half the annual rainfall amounts as nearby cities, like Seattle. Enjoy a day of escape while they are all continuously soaked!
Located at the base of Mt. Finlayson on San Juan Island’s southern (and driest!) end, the trail to Jackal’s Lagoon is a meandering loop through a mossy, emerald forest. Huge Douglas Firs, Hemlock and Cedar trees protect the wide, flat dirt path from rainy days. The undergrowth is lush with Evergreen salal and sword ferns. The path eventually winds down through the woods to the driftwood covered beaches of Jackal’s Lagoon. For spectacular views of the waters of Cattle Pass and out to the Olympic Mountains, follow the path to the top of Mt. Finlayson. Be prepared for a serious workout to the top!
For a brief time in the 1850’s, San Juan Island was jointly occupied by both British and American soldiers. English (or British) Camp is one stop every history buff should make when visiting San Juan Island. It’s also home to one of the prettiest and easiest little hikes on the entire island: the Bell Point Loop. At barely one mile long this trail winds through the forest along the edge of Westcott and Garrison Bays. It boasts multiple places to stop and admire the ocean along the way. On your way out (or in!) be sure to check out the manicured, fenced garden and follow the small path up the hill behind the garden for another great view and bit of history.
The Mausoleum at Roche Harbor
Another great spot for history buffs! Park near the airstrip at Roche Harbor and follow the signs to the Mausoleum. The beginning of this easy hike winds through the woods and around the old gravestones of some of the first people to settle near Roche Harbor. The small headstones are mostly fenced and slightly hidden in the undergrowth but many of them are still readable. The path widens and flattens out to a groomed trail toward the main site: the huge, Masonic style final resting place of the MacMillan family who first founded Roche Harbor. Don’t miss the rest of Roche Harbor Resort after your hike!
Mt. Young: Also Called Young Hill
At 650 feet tall, this is hike is steep but short. It boasts some of the most incredible views on all of San Juan Island. The trail head begins at English Camp or hikers can park along West Valley Road. At the beginning of your hike, there is a small cemetery where a British soldier who was stationed at English Camp and one civilian are laid to rest. From there, follow the winding, tree covered path to the top of the mountain- a great place for a picnic or in the warmer months a blanket and a good book. Don’t forget your camera, you will want to record these spectacular, almost 360 degree views!
Come Home to a Warm Fire and Hot Cocoa
A stay at the Harrison House Suites on scenic San Juan Island, even on rainy days, can lead to some gorgeous hikes. If you are caught in a light shower, these hikes will keep you high and dry. Once your day of exploring ends, come home to one of our suites or cottages at the San Juan Island Inn Collection. Our house made lavender hot cocoa and gas fireplaces will be sure to keep you warm!
Courtney ~ Local Blogger for the San Juan Island Inn Collection