cycle hiking Orcas Island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I crossed the amazing bridge between Whidbey and Hidalgo worried about my front tire.



After the third time pumping more air I inquired at a general store as to the nearest cycle shop. A gentleman there offered to drive me the 8 miles to Skagit Cycle in Anacortes.

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I don’t trust myself to fix a tire correctly. 😦

Waiting on the next ferry, I cycled up to the Little Cranberry Lake area.


Nice, but from the little I saw, NOT impressed with Anacortes. Too big. Too much traffic. Not much to write home about. But there is a Jack in the Box. 🙂

During the summer it’s a busy ferry over to Orcas.


Hydration is important. 🙂


As is keeping your paniers locked to your bike.


I’d been looking forward to Orcas and – as it turned out – it was my favourite island, so far.


I cycled directly to Eastsound. That’s the main town.

I checked the hostel. It cost US$50 for a dorm bed. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30.

So I cycled on to Moran State Park. Wild camped near the campground.


Stinging nettle was my only gripe. There are a few mosquitoes too.

Moran encompasses over 5,000 acres of various terrain including forests, wetlands, bogs, hills, and lakes. It is the largest public recreation area in the San Juan Islands and the fourth largest state park in the state. …

The park offers 38 miles of hiking trails …

If you go to Orcas for hiking, be sure to find a copy of the free brochure.


Next morning I climbed out of the tent and walked directly on to the Twin Lakes trail via Mountain Lake.



A crew was doing trail construction at Twin Lakes. I had lunch and watched them. Good work.



Returning via a series of cascades, I resolved to return one day to bike these trails. After Sept 15th they are all open to mountain bikes.

Back to the tent to relax. Then on to my next adventure. Cycling to the summit of Mt Constitution.

… the highest point in the San Juan Islands. A stone observation tower patterned after a medieval watch tower stands at the summit. …


I resolved to only go as high as I could make it without getting off the saddle. It’s 5 miles at an average 8 degree slope. Turned out I made it to the top. 🙂 Beautiful vista.


After a steep and fast ride back down the 5 miles I headed on to lovely Doe Bay resort.





I could definitely stay here for a few days. 🙂

But I wanted to stay near Eastsound that evening. I ended up wild camping in an excellent city park called Crescent Beach Preserve. It was close to a superb coffee shop – Enzo’s.

I rode next to Westsound. En route I hiked Turtleback Mountain.

I started at the north trailhead and hiked up to Waldron overlook. The trail is better for mountain biking than hiking, I’d say.


On the return I stopped at North Valley Overlook, a tranquil, rural scene.



And finally all the way to Deer Harbor.


Time to celebrate.


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