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Moran State Park - Cascade Lake

Puget Sound and Islands

Location

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

Length

2.7 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 200 ft.
Highest Point: 480 ft.

Rating

3.00 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2020
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
Check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau travel advisory for the latest COVID updates
 
 

Cascade Lake provides recreation opportunities for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. The main day-use area offers a picnic area, kitchen shelters, boat launches and rentals, a swimming beach, and fishing. One of the main attractions though is the loop trail that circles the lake. Walk along the shore of the lake and enjoy secluded viewpoints and tall trees.

Start your trip from the day-use area. Here there are charcoal grills and a play structure for kids to play on, as well as a number of other ammenities. The main picnic shelter can be reserved if you're planning on hosting a large event. Call (888) CAMPOUT to make your reservation.

The trail around the lake starts to the right of the day-use area. Quickly cross over Moran Creek. This creek is a natural spawning ground for trout, and there is no fishing allowed in the creek. A small bridge takes you across, and you can peer into the creek to try and spot the fish. Just past the creek, you pass by the main park offices. Continue along the shore to follow the loop trail.

Past this point, the trail becomes more isolated and you retreat into the woods around the lake. Various viewpoints are scattered throughout the trail along the western banks. You may recognize a Douglas fir tree that is a popular subject of photos. There are also few splits in the trail along this stretch. At the first split, stay left around the bank of the lake. The trial to the right takes you to the Rosario Resort. The next split is more of a social trail vs. main trail scenario. Both sides will keep you on the trail, but the one straight ahead will have you climb the rock and gain all your elevation at once, and the other will loop you around and take you up more gradually. Either way, the elevation gain is minimal.

After just under a mile, there is another junction in the trail. Here, the trail to the left takes you to a viewpoint of the lake. It does not connect back to the main trail. The option to the right takes you around the lagoon. This trail tends to be muddy and overgrown, but if you loop all the way around it will connect you back to the main trail. Continue straight to follow the loop trail, which takes you to a lovely bridge that spans the gap between the lake and the lagoon. Stop here for some photos. The lake is stocked with trout and are home to Kokanee fry. Enjoy spotting them jump, or look at the boat launch for rules about fishing.

Past the bridge, make your way to the South End Campground along the trail for the last bit that is directly on the lake. Once you reach the campground, walk along the road until you see the trail continue on the lake shore on the left. This short section of trail will take you to Mt. Constitution Road, where you cross to connect to the last section of the trail.

On this side of the road, the trail is also open to mountain bikers, so please share the trail and be aware of hikers, bikers, and pets. It takes you off of the lake shore and into the forest. If you're quiet, you may spot some deer in the trees or at the parking lot. After a short climb, the trail connects to the Cascade Falls trail to the right. Veer left to finish the loop, enjoying periodic views of the lake through the trees. Come upon a viewpoint over the road with nice views of the lake, then descend across a creek and back to the day-use area where you started.

 

Moran State Park - Cascade Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.6562, -122.8548 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands

Washington State Parks

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

USGS Mount Constitution

park map online

Getting There

Take the Orcas Island ferry from Anacortes, WA. For .2 miles, go north on Gibbs Road and turn right onto Orcas Road. Drive for 7.3 miles to Main St. and turn right. Drive through Eastsound for 1.2 miles and turn right onto Olga Road. Drive 3.5 miles, through the entrance to Moran State Park. If you need a discover pass, turn right into the information center just before you enter the gate. The day-use area is on the right.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
Check the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau travel advisory for the latest COVID updates
 

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Moran State Park - Cascade Lake

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