San Juan Island Scenic Tour
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Perfect by Car, Shuttle (May – September) or Bicycle
San Juan Island is part of WA State’s Scenic Byways; here you’ll find charming views around every curve and hill. So slow down and admire the scenery; stop and breathe in the fresh air; stretch your legs on a walk; enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the many parks and trails. The roads are narrow and few have shoulders, and they are shared with bicyclists, mopeds, pedestrians and vehicles; please remember to observe the speed limits and drive defensively.
To start your tour, take Spring Street away from the Ferry Terminal and turn left onto Mullis Road. Mullis turns into Cattle Point Road. Follow Cattle Point Road all the way to the turnaround where you can park your car. There you will find a pathway to the cliff side where you can walk around and view scenery of the southern part of the Island, and a short walk to the light house.
As you leave Cattle Point and head North, stop at Jakle’s Lagoon and South Beach for scenic views, photos, a picnic, or to rest and read a book. Stop at the Ranger Station in American Camp, one of our two National Historic Park sites, for an informative short film about the Pig War, and pick up a trail guide for the short historical walk. From the visitors center there are several short hikes to coves along the west side. Numerous trails in densely forested Mt. Finlayson are accessed from Jakle’s Lagoon.
Continue North along Cattle Point Road to False Bay Drive; turn left onto False Bay Drive. In a mile or so, the road turns into hard-packed gravel. False Bay will be on your left. There are a few spots to park so that you can walk and take in the scenic view. This is a great place for Tide Pooling during low tide. Keep an eye out for whales in the channel or seals in the bay.
Continue along False Bay Road and turn left on Bailer Hill Road. This will take you to the west side of the Island. Before heading to the west side, turn right on Wold Road to visit Pelindaba Lavender Farm. Go back to Bailer Hill Road and make a right to the west side.
Bailer Hill Road turns into West Side Road and will take you to Lime Kiln State Park. This is the prime whale watching location, especially in the summertime, and also a great place for hiking, picnics and watching sunsets. A hiking trail to the north leads to a restored lime kiln.
As you leave Lime Kiln State Park continue on West Side Road to Mitchell Bay Road. If you turn left it will take you to Mitchell Bay and Snug Harbor Resort. If you turn right, Mitchell Bay Road will dead end into West Valley Road. Turn left on West Valley Road and on your left you will see Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm. The alpacas are adorable and friendly, and the gift shop has beautiful hand-knitted clothing.
Continue along West Valley Road to English Camp, the other National Historic Park site. There is a serene parade ground and formal garden along Garrison Bay. The one-mile long Bell Point Trail at the far end of the parade ground is a lovely, flat walk around the edge of both Westcott and Garrison Bays. Enjoy one of the most scenic vistas on the Island with the hike to Mt. Young. The trail head is on the opposite side of the parking lot from the path to the historical barracks. At the top of Mt. Young, enjoy sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains, Victoria and the northern San Juan Islands.
Continue north or left out of English Camp on West Valley Road; turn left onto Roche Harbor Road. The northern most hamlet on San Juan Island is Roche Harbor. Here you may go kayaking, exploring, shopping, and dinning at one of three restaurants. During the summer, Island artists have kiosks in the main square by the docks. Visit the chapel, mausoleum, lime kilns and Hotel de Haro where President Teddy Roosevelt stayed.
After you leave Roche Harbor, enjoy a visit to the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park on your right, just across from the airstrip. There are about 130 outdoor sculptures on a large 19-acre property. As you head south on Roche Harbor Road reward yourself with wine tasting at San Juan Vineyards – located on the left off Roche Harbor Road. Just across from the vineyard, you can pay a visit to Mona, the Islands beloved Dromedary Camel who lives in the pasture across the way from the winery. Mona loves to visit with folks, but please do not feed her – she is on a strict diet for medical reasons.
Continue south on Roche Harbor Road back to Friday Harbor. Take a left at the stop sign onto Guard Street to Second Street. Go to the next STOP sign and make a left on Spring Street. Friday Harbor is a wonderful seaside village with lots of great shops, historic buildings and restaurants. You may want to park at the Inns and walk to town to explore. After your busy day of touring, consider joining us for a quiet, intimate dinner at Coho Restaurant – featuring Fresh from the Islands Cuisine, with a Mediterranean Flair.