Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juans and is home to Moran State Park..
In the middle of this 5252 acre state park standing at 2409 feet is Mount Constitution. You can walk, bike, or drive all the way to the top of Mount Constitution ( there is a gift shop about halfway up ). On a clear day one can see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Cascade mountain range, and the Olympic mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula.
Most casual visitors to Orcas Island will find a scenic drive to the top of Mount Constitution satisfactory. However more serious visitors are more likely to spend more time enjoying other activities such as hiking around lakes and through the old-growth forests.
Some of these hiking trails ( there are over 30 miles total ) allow bicycling and horseback riding. Cascade Lake, Mountain Lake, and Twin Lakes are popular fishing spots. Twin Lakes does not have a boat launch. Summit Lake atop Mount Constitution is not fishable. Moran State Park has over 45,300 feet of freshwater shoreline.
Camping in Moran State Park:
Moran State Park has 151 tent spaces, one dump Station, and 10 coin-operated hot water showers. The campsites are spread over four different campgrounds... North End, Midway, and South End are on Cascade Lake, the other campsites are located on a small peninsula near the parking lot on Mountain Lake. Make sure to print out our PDF map of Moran State Park which shows all the trails, parking, campsites, and other information.
Certain areas and campsites will not fit large RVs or motorhomes. 2009 prices are $15 for a standard campsite and $21 for utility campsite. Primitive campsites are $10. Maximum eight people per campsite. A second vehicle charge of $10 per night is charged unless you are towing it with your dump station fees RV. Check-in time is 2:30 p.m. and checkout time is 1 p.m. The quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. You may stay a maximum of 10 days in the park during the summer and 20 days in the winter months from October 1 through March 31.
Moran State Park Campsite
Make your reservations early because most campsites are usually full during the summers. Reservations can be made online or by calling (888) 226-7688. There is a $8.50 nonrefundable fee for all reservations made by phone. If you reserve your campsite online the surcharge is only $6.50. The online reservation system Some campsites are not reservable because they are designated as walk-in sites.
Atop the 2,409-foot-high Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juan Islands, there stands a stone observation tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936.
Day use and
picnicking in Moran State Park:
Moran State Park provides the following picnic facilities: Four kitchen shelters, two with electricity and two without electricity. Six sheltered picnic tables and 55 unsheltered picking tables. Most facilities are available first-come, first-served. At Cascade Lake there is a large day use area that includes a swimming beach, picnic areas, bathrooms, paddleboat rentals, and a dock. Atop of Mount Constitution is a day use picnic area known as Cold Springs. More picnic tables can be found at Little Summit which is nearly to the top of Mount Constitution. The snack bar at Cascade Lake has paddleboat and rowboat rentals. There is a short self-guided interpretive trail near the kitchen shelter next to the Cascade Lake parking lot. Interpretive displays will soon be installed in the observation tower on Mount Constitution to tell the story of Robert Moran in the civil conservation Corps.
The Environmental Learning
The Environmental Learning Center known as the ELC is a well-equipped facility available for rental and is located at the day use area of Cascade Lake. It has a capacity of 144 people and has its own vacation house which accommodates up to eight people. Call 360-902-8600 for more information and reservations.
Swimming in Moran State Park:
The main swimming lake is Cascade Lake which has a beach, dock, snack bar, paddleboat rentals, rowboat rentals, restrooms, coin-operated hot-water showers, and large parking area.
Paddleboat and rowboat rentals:
The paddleboats are only available on Cascade Lake. The rowboats are available on Cascade Lake and Mountain Lake. Canoes and kayaks can be rented and delivered by Outer Island Expeditions; see our page on kayaking on Orcas Island for more info.
Hiking in Moran State Park:
With over 33 miles of trails there is something for all fitness levels. Uphill, downhill, level, or steep. Try arranging to be dropped off at the top of the mountain and have someone pick you up at the bottom for a leisurely downhill hike through the old-growth forest. They Cascade Loop is nearly 3 miles long and mostly level. Half way around the cascade Loop is a side trail that goes around Rosario Lagoon. A very steep trail beginning at the south end campground is nearly a mile long and features views from the top of Sunrise Rock over Cascade Lake.
Biking in Moran State Park:
Certain bike trails are closed seasonally. 11 miles are open year-round, and September 15 to May 15 there are 25 miles open to bicycle use.
"This has got to be the best damn trail riding I have ever experienced in Washington. The above statement is not an exaggeration. If it's a clear spring/summer day, then once you reach the top of Mount Constitution after a grueling 3 mile climb you will be rewarding with breath taking views of the sound. Top that off with 10-15 miles of trail heading down and around the island of fast singletrack, old growth forests and water to swim in during a break, and you have the makings for a wonderful weekend. We had two trips out there last year and will be working on the trail next month. May not be open to bikes every weekend. Check before going over." Dirtworld.com
"Not technically challenging though great place to soak in the island beauty. If looking for good workout leave car in Anacortes and ride off the ferry 17.1 miles to Moran trailheads & camping, enjoy the views while on the mountain and for daytrips keep yer eye on the time unless you like to push it to the limit and sprint to catch the ferry ! Good riding is Sep15-May15 when trails R open & crowds R gone. " Dirtworld.com
"When the best trails are open to mountain bikers, fall through spring, you'll have a great time on single track with awesome views of the ocean. The upper part near the Mount Constitution Lookout can be congested, but otherwise, I didn't see another hiker or biker on the lower part in late February. The trail has suffered from winter erosion, and you may need to beat feet when going uphill, but it's worth it. Go off season and you won't even have to wait for ferries--I waited 15 minutes. " Dirtworld.com
Fishing in Moran State Park:
Cascade Lake is stocked yearly by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Species include rainbow, cutthroat and kokanee trout. No internal combustion engines are allowed. A daily watercraft launching permit for seven dollars and a trailer dumping permit for five dollars is available at the park. A launch ramp for trailer boats is at Midway campground. Paddleboats and rowboats can both be rented from the snack bar at Cascade Lake. At Mountain Lake rowboats can be rented and there is a boat launch. Twin Lakes must be hiked to has some fish and heaps of salamanders but are not stocked with fish every year as Mountain Lake and Cascade Lake are. Self Guided Fishing Tips, Fishing Charters,
Horseback riding in Moran
Over 6 miles of the trails are available for horseback riding. Cascade Falls is a small but impressive waterfall which flows best during winter and early summer and is a quarter of a mile hike in.
During September the Summit Bike Challenge is held, families and individuals register and ride to the summit of Mount Constitution. Another event usually held in February the Orcas Island Fat Ass 50 and 25K run up 7000 feet or 3500 feet of beautiful single track trail through dense old-growth forest.
Directions to Moran State Park: starting at the Orcas Island ferry terminal follow Orcas Road for 9 miles to Eastsound Village. Continue driving through town and after approximately 1 more mile take a right onto Olga road. The entrance to Moran State Park will be 3 miles ahead.
Creatures you might
find in Moran State Park:
Chipmunks, deer, otters, rabbits, recommends, squirrels, crows and ravens, ducks, Eagles, geese, grouse, gulls, hawks, herons, hummingbirds, ospreys, owls, swans, woodpeckers, wrens, bass and Trout.
Moran State Park History:
Moran State Park opened in 1921 when Robert Moran, shipbuilder and former mayor of Seattle, donated more than 2,700 acres to the state for a park. Most of the trails, roads, bridges, and buildings in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s. The builders used native materials on site to construct the many stone and wooden shelters and buildings.
Recently the San Juan preservation trust has acquired a beach from a generous Orcas Island family. The beach is adjacent to Moran State Park and will be open to the public area. Eventually the beach will be purchased by Moran State Park ( when the funds become available ) and will give Moran State Park its first saltwater beach.
Hiking trails will allow the public to explore the area, beach, and the historic lime kiln.
The generous landowners Allen Wilcox and Connie Collinsworth offered the property to the preservation trust well below the market rate.
Interactive Moran State Park Map
Double click to zoom in, use menu to pan and zoom out.
You can also download this as a printable PDF file.
Parks & Recreational Areas
Lakes and Beaches
Museums & Gardens
Places for Young Adults & Children
Towns on Orcas Island
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