This nature preserve is on the southern shores of Guemes Island and is visible from the ferry as you make your way across the water from Anacortes. From the signed Trailhead on South Shore Drive, this trail takes hikers through four distinct ecosystems over the course of a short half mile. You will start out in a second-growth forest, passing beneath Douglas fir and Western Hemlock before entering a meadow that acts as a buffer between the beach and an expansive cattail marsh.
Pause near the cattail marsh and you are sure to see a variety of birds, including killdeer, red-winged blackbird, great blue heron, and many more. Another rare and unique feature of this park is the shoreline prairie, which hosts several species of native shrubs interspersed with dunegrass. In the spring, perennial wildflowers like chocolate lily will begin to bloom here as well. This ecosystem has been restored thanks to the efforts of the San Juan Preservation Trust and many hardworking volunteers who removed large swaths of scotch broom that were growing out of control.
At this point, the trail drops hikers off at the water. With over 2,000 feet of protected beach, you can continue exploring along the shore. Take a last look across the water to Anacortes before looping up with the trail back to your car. Get additional information and a helpful map from the San Juan Preservation Trust website.