Walking, hiking, and biking on San Juan Island

Just outside Friday Harbor is the Clark McAlpine Trail which was built by the Port of Friday Harbor and local Boy Scouts. The trail starts on Spring Street just to the west of San Juan office-supply. Park on the street and begin your hike from there. Approximately 2 miles of trails, restrooms and drinking water available at the airport terminal during business hours. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map.

American Camp is part of the San Juan Island National Historic Park and is located about 8 miles from town on the southeast side of San Juan Island. You can park at the visitor center or at South Beach. Most of this hike is on open prairie and forms a large circle around American Camp and the historical Redoubt area. If you start at South Beach you can walk along the bluff overlooking the coast to your south. If you stay to your left you can walk down to Granny's Cove beach. You can find restrooms at the visitor center as well as South Beach. Drinking water available at the visitor center. Picnic tables are located somewhere. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on American Camp.

Fourth Of July Beach is also located on the southeastern side of San Juan Island. Park here to access the trails that go up and over Mount Finlayson and loop around the coastline Overlooking Jakle's Lagoon. Presumably the Lagoon was named after the the first Cattle Point Lighthouse caretaker George Jakle who was a soldier stationed at American camp whose job it was to keep the Cattle Point lighthouse light filled up with kerosene. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on Fourth Of July Beach.

Mount Finlayson was named after a Hudson Bay Company employee named Rodrick Finlayson who was the head accountant and was quite an interesting fellow. Mount Finlayson is 295 feet high and is just up the road from Fourth of July Beach and South Beach. A parking lot here provides access to the trailhead. Make sure to print out the self-guided nature tour document. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on Mount Finlayson.

English Camp otherwise known as British Camp is located on the northwest side of San Juan Island just off of West Valley Road. Great views, picnic tables, restrooms, a variety of terrain and a big parking lot make English Camp a popular year-round hiking spot. At 650 feet the summit of Mount Young offers views over Garrison Bay, Westcott Bay, Bell Point, and Haro Strait. In all English Camp includes nearly 530 acres of salt water shoreline and forested area. The historic cemetery, a formal garden, and four historical structures can be viewed year-round. The Bell Point Trail starts from the formal Gardens area and follows the shoreline around out to Bell Point. Shellfish can be harvested from here... make sure to check with the park ranger at the visitor center for details on red tide and daily shellfish limits. Picnic tables can be found near the water on the northeast side of the trail. The entire loop is 2 miles and fairly level terrain. A half-mile long Self Guided History Walk lets you relive the life of a Royal Marine stationed at English Camp during the Pig War against the Americans. Leaflet guides can be picked up in the box next to the bulletin board at the visitor center. The English formal garden is located just down the hill from the officers quarters site and was built by the commanding officer for his family to remind them of home. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on English Camp.

Roche Harbor Highlands offers over 10 miles forced to trails for walkers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. No motorized vehicles allowed. To access the Roche harbor islands there is a small pullout dirt parking lot at the three-way intersection of Roche Harbor Road and West Valley Road. This intersection is about 1 mile before Roche Harbor. The beginning of the trail is actually a fire access road that eventually turns into the trails and meets up with Briggs Lake. This network of trails connects with the Mitchell Hill DNR trail system which is also accessible from a small road before the turn off to Yacht Haven road when heading north. Mitchell Hill DNR belongs to the state Department of natural resources and has over 2.8 miles of trails. The trails are a mix of old logging roads and newer trails created by hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders. No motor vehicles are allowed. This network of trails connects with the Roche Harbor Highlands trails for a total of nearly 14 miles of natural paradise. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on Roche Harbor resort and Marina.

The Roche Harbor Trail System is comprised of over 6.3 miles of trails. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders are welcome to explore highlights such as the limestone quarries, an esoteric mausoleum built by a high-ranking Freemason and Templar, a sculpture garden, a cemetery, and wetlands. The only restrooms are located at the Westcott Bay sculpture Park and there is no drinking water available. Accessed the trails from the following locations: the sculpture park, Roche Harbor Resort, the Roche Harbor Road/West Valley Road parking lot, the water treatment plant, and the disc golf course. No motorized vehicles, no camping, no fires, and pack out what you packed in. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF maps of Roche Harbor Highlands or Roche Harbor Trails. More details on Roche Harbor resort and Marina.

Lime Kiln Point State Park has over 1 1/2 miles of trails, waterfront picnic tables, restrooms, a gift shop, large parking lot, and drinking water. This park is commonly known as Whale Watch Park because the orca whales pass by during the summer months and can easily be viewed from the shoreline and elevated locations along the trail. Hiking difficulty ranges from easy to moderate. The trail from the parking lot leading down to the whale viewing area is handicap accessible/wheelchair accessible. Informative interpretive displays provide historical info on the Lime Kilns as well as the lighthouse. Some trails lead into The San Juan County Land Bank's Lime Kiln Preserve and another trail leads down to Deadmans Bay before looping back up into the preserve and back down to Lime Kiln State Park area. Trout Lake is popular among birdwatchers in the summer months. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on Lime Kiln State Park.

Reuben Tarte Park offers .09 miles of trails overlooking nearby islands. The trailhead starts down by the beach and loops around a large rocky peninsula flanked by two pebble beaches. Makes a great spot for a quiet family picnic ( no picnic tables ). No drinking water, one porta potty. You are allowed to drive down to the beach had to drop off passengers and picnic supplies however vehicles need to be parked in the parking lot. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map.

San Juan County Park is located north of Lime Kiln State Park on the west side of San Juan Island. It is a popular campground, picnic destination, kayak launching point, boat launching point, and scuba diving starting point. The quarter-mile trail loops around the park peninsula overlooking Smallpox Bay. Dogs must be on leash. View printable PDF map. More details on San Juan County Park.

Tags: hiking trails, biking trails, mountain biking trails, horseback riding, equestrian, bicycling, walking, fitness, exercise, healthy, San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, great hikes on San Juan Island, short hikes, natural walking trails.

Background photo courtesy of Jason's kayaking blog.

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