Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Bell Point and English Camp

Bell Point and English Camp

Puget Sound and Islands

Location

Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands
View map below

Length

1.7 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 50 ft.
Highest Point: 50 ft.

Rating

0.00 out of 5

(0 votes) Log in to rate
 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau travel advisory for the latest COVID updates
 
 

English Camp is the historical site of the Royal British Marines’ outpost established in the 1860’s. This camp was part of a joint English-American occupation of San Juan Island while international water boundaries were decided. Many of the buildings remain for visitors to explore. Saturdays from June through August are Living History Days, where staff and volunteers re-enact aspects of 19th century life on the island. Guests can watch the blacksmith at work or play historic children’s games. The gentle, family-friendly loop trail from English Camp to Bell Point offers hikers peaceful water views and pleasant bird watching.

From the parking lot, walk a short, sloping trail into English Camp’s Parade Grounds. Stop by the Visitor Center in the barracks for a map of the grounds and trails. Explore the camp’s many structures, including a curious blockhouse, officer’s quarters, a hospital, and a formal garden. Active osprey nests may also be visible from the Parade Grounds - ask park staff to point these out. 

Cross the Parade Grounds toward the dock. Signs mark a wooded area that is the start of the Bell Point Trail. Impressive old growth madrones tower overhead, stretching out over the beach below. In 0.1 miles, there is a pier that offers lovely views of Garrison Bay. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and kingfishers. Continue down the trail toward Bell Point. The mature forest here may offer encounters with black-tailed deer, hairy woodpeckers, and barred owls. 

In 0.5 miles, a trail spur will take hikers up to Bell Point. There is also a picnic table available here. Take in the view of Roche Harbor and sailboats anchored along the bay. Continue down the loop tail through a grassy wetland with young alder trees. Wander through the woods until reaching the next fork in 0.2 miles. A sign will point in the direction of the Parade Grounds to complete the loop trail, or hikers can take a left 0.7 miles toward Westcott Bay. In another 0.3 miles, hikers will return to English Camp.

For a slightly longer hike, continue on the winding trail to the left another 0.4 miles to come out further up the Parade Grounds or continue on to the parking lot.

 

Bell Point and English Camp

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.5865, -123.1479 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands

San Juan Island National Historic Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking the San Juans and Gulf Islands (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Park Maps at English Camp Visitor Center

USGS Roche Harbor

Getting There

From the Friday Harbor Ferry dock, drive down Front Street and turn left at the roundabout onto Spring Street. In two blocks, take a right onto Second Street. Continue on Second Street for 8.4 miles - it will become Guard Street, then Beaverton Valley Road, then Valley Road.

Signs for English Camp will guide drivers to turn left onto an unnamed road. The parking lot is in 0.3 miles There is parking for approximately 25 cars. The parking lot also offers a bike rack, shaded picnic tables and a privy. San Juan Transit buses also stop at English camp from late May to early September.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau travel advisory for the latest COVID updates
 

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Bell Point and English Camp

10 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports