Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Outside Hiking by Season Spring Destinations Hiking in the Islands

Hiking in the Islands

Hike Washington's islands to discover a wide variety of habitats with breathtaking scenery. Saltwater shoreline, tide pools, lagoons, native prairie, forest, lake shore, and mountain summits await your island adventures.

From the San Juan Islands south through Puget Sound, Washington's islands offer a variety of habitats with breathtaking scenery. Saltwater shoreline, tide pools, lagoons, native prairie, forest, lake shore, and mountain summits await the seafaring (or bridge driving) hiker. And perhaps best of all, these island trails can be accessed all year long — providing the perfect shoulder-season getaway while we wait out the high country snow.

Before you head out on your island getaway, remember these tips:

    • Be kind to tidepools. Step carefully, and avoid sea creatures at you walk. Look and avoid touching. Know your tides and watch for the returning tide.
    • Follow Leave No Trace guidelines and leave any neat shells, rocks or other natural behind for future hikers to enjoy.
    • Prepare for the weather. Spring weather can shift from sunshine to downpours in a matter of minutes. Pack along adequate layers and consider adding trekking poles if you're headed somewhere that gets slick when wet.

San Juan Islands

TurtleBACK Mountain Preserve

Location: Orcas Island
Length: 2.9 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation Gain: 860 feet

Turtleback Mountain
The view from the top of Turtleback Mountain. Photo by Jess2643.

Climb to some of the best views in the San Juan Islands or wander rare Garry oak woodlands, grasslands, conifer forests, and scattered wetlands in this 1,576 acre preserve with several trail options.

In 2013, WTA work parties worked with the Preserve and San Juan Preservation Trust to create a trail up to the stunning vistas from the Turtleback Preserve. This route is resplendent with wildflowers in the spring.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Mount Constitution and Mountain Lake

Location: Orcas Island
Length: 6.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

Mount Constitution
The trail to Mount Constitution. Photo by lhseattle.

As the highest point in the San Juans, Mount Constitution and its CCC-built stone observation tower provide hikers with bird's-eye views of Western Washington and Canada. At the base of Constitution, hike along shimmering Mountain Lake, where blacktail deer and many bird species, including woodpeckers and herons, inhabit the forest.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Iceberg Point

Location: Lopez Island
Length: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Iceberg Point
Iceberg Point. Photo by tess.

On the southwest tip of Lopez Island, rocky windswept bluffs provide an excellent vantage point to view orca whales and shore birds. Hike the grassy meadows, spread a picnic on a flat rock and gaze out over the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. It's one of the most serene and beautiful places on the islands.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Young Hill

Location: San Juan Island
Length:
2.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain:
587 feet

Young Hill
Photo by trip reporter ejain.

The hike up Young Hill is a San Juan Island classic. A moderate trail leading to surprisingly expansive views, and the short side trip to the English Camp cemetery offers a chance to observe unique natural and historical features.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Guemes Mountain

Location: Guemes Island
Length:
2.3 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain:
550 feet

Guemes Mountain
Photo by trip reporter raring2hike.

WTA built this trail to Guemes Island's highest point where island and mountain views abound. From atop the one mile trail, views open to the North Cascades, Mount Baker, and Skagit flats rising above the labyrinthine waterways of the San Juan Islands. This trail delights through the seasons, showcasing spring flowers and bright autumn foliage.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Mount Finlayson

Location: San Juan Island
Length: 3.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 285 feet

Mount Finlayson
Third Lagoon along the Jakles Lagoon Loop route. Photo by trip reporter ejain.

Located in San Juan Island National Historic Park, Mount Finlayson is home to one of the last native prairie habitats in the San Juan Island Archipelago. More than six miles of shoreline and a variety of habitats including lagoons, fir and oak stands, and bluffs overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca fill this hike with wildlife viewing opportunities.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

> History buff? Go back in time at San Juan Island National Historic Park


Fidalgo Island

Washington Park

Location: Fidalgo Island 
Length: 2.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 280 feet

Washington Park
A bright, yet partly cloudy day looking over the blue waters of the Puget Sound. There is a green, rocky patch of land to the right which dips down to the water on the left. A trail snakes up through the green, rocky land and into a small stand of trees. Another land mass can be seen rising out the Puget Sound in he distance. Photo by trip reporter Pribbs.

Washington Park makes up the northwestern tip of Anacortes — meaning you'll find views in nearly every direction. The terrain of the park varies from rain forest on the north to open, stony hillsides with few trees on the south. You'll likely spot herons, gulls, ravens, crows, and robins. Perhaps even an eagle. And in season, you will find a few wildflowers.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Kukutali preserve

Location: Fidalgo Island
Length: 2.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet

Kukutali Preserve
Flagstaff Point and Skagit Island. Photo by trip reporter Quantum Guru/Marin.

Owned in partnership by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Washington Parks, this preserve is a special place where visitors can walk and learn. Many unique ecosystems flourish here and are closely connected with the tides. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


sharpe park-duban headlands  

Location: Fidalgo Island 
Length: 1.9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 425 feet

Sharpe Park
View from the Duban Headlands Trail. Photo by geezerhiker.

This is a great option to walk through a coastal forest to what feels like the edge of the earth. The trail ends at high bluffs overlooking the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Along the way you will pass by majestic madrones and other gnarled trees that have withstood decades of salty storms. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Camano Island

Camano Island State Park

Location: Camano Island
Length: 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet

Camano Island State Park
The photo overlooks a drop off over the Puget Sound. A madrone tree is leaning over the drop off on the righthand side. A rocky beach and boat launch can be seen below the drop off to the left-hand side. Photo by trip reporter Jessica.

The heavy-hitters of Puget Sound flora and fauna inhabit Camano Island State Park in all their grandeur. Bald eagles soar high above native forest filled with Douglas-fir, madrona, salal, and sword fern. From a high bluff overlooking Elger Bay, southern views of Saratoga Passage and Whidbey Island front distant Mount Rainier.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Camano Ridge Trail

Location: Camano Island 
Length: 5.0 miles of trails
Elevation Gain: 250 feet
Public Transit: Yes

Camano Ridge Trail
A foggy day in a dense forest of tall evergreen trees. The narrow trail heads straight through the photo, surrounded on both sides by thick, sword fern-heavy underbrush. Photo by trip reporter vet2vet.

Located at the northern end of Camano Island, this forest boasts 6 miles of trails that take visitors through an evergreen forest decked out with sword ferns and maples that glow with color in the autumn. Plan a loop hike, or wander down the many trails with no particular destination in mind. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Barnum Point  

Location: Camano Island
Length: 2.75 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 feet

Barnum Point
Sunny clouds from the beach. Photo by kokay. 

With trails along the bluffs and along the beach, Barnum Point has many options for exploring. If the tide is on your side you can even walk for about a mile on the beach, looking for eagles in the trees that line the shore. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Whidbey Island

Goose Rock

Location: Whidbey Island
Length: 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Public Transit: Yes

Goose Rock
Photo by trip report DDonoson.

Above Deception Pass, Goose Rock provides gorgeous island and Sound views with little climb. Goose Rock is a great introduction to this much-loved state park where bald eagles perch on windswept shore pines, red-barked madrona lean over aquamarine waters, and kelp forests sway to the rock of the tides.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Ebey's Landing

Location: Whidbey Island
Length:
5.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 260 feet

Ebey's Landing
A bluebird day at Ebey's Landing, looking down from the bluff and over the Puget Sound. Photo by trip reporter BrownsBay.

As the nation's first national historic reserve, culturally-rich Ebey's Landing offers visitors both history and an assortment of habitats and scenery. Working farms and one of Washington's earliest settlements lay beside a shoreline strewn with driftwood and shorebirds, walking trails, native prairie, two state parks, and enough wildlife and beauty to keep your camera clicking.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Trillium Community Forest 

Location: Whidbey Island
Length:
 7.0 miles of trails
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Beautiful view down a wide forested trail. Photo by Mike.
Beautiful view along the main trail. Photo by Mike. 

Whidbey has plenty of stunning shoreline, but that doesn't mean you should overlook the forested interior of the island. This lovely forest has miles of trail worth wandering. The network here includes some sections of paved trail that are ADA accessible. Delve into this wooded refuge to walk along trails edged by ferns, salal and tall trees. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Bainbridge Island

Gazzam lake nature preserve

Location: Bainbridge Island
Length: 6.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve
Photo by trip reporter ejain.

Pack a picnic to eat on the cedar and maple-lined shores of Gazzam Lake or the secluded sands of Close Beach on this sweet 3.4 mile hike on the southwestern corner of the island. Watch for birds as you hike through this preserve managed by Bainbridge Island Parks Department. This hike is accessible by public transit, because nature should always be within reach!

WTA Pro Tip: Make it an overnight, and stay at Fay Bainbridge Park, which is a small park on the northwest corner of the island with 10 first-come, first served tent sites, 26 utility sites and (in the summer months) two restroom facilities, one with showers.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Grand Forest

Location: Bainbridge Island
Length: 7.0 miles of trails
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Grand Forest
Photo by trip reporter #outdoorjeff.

Plopped smack-dab in the middle of Bainbridge Island, this is a popular park with plenty of trails to choose from. The Grand Forest offers a counterpoint to the many shoreline parks on the island, by providing quiet contemplation in a forest that earns its name. Hikers will be content rambling along the trails within the boundary of this park, but longer connections are also available since this park is an important link on the Cross Island Trail which spans the entire width of the island. This hike is accessible by public transit, because nature should always be in reach!

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Fort WArd Park 

Location: Bainbridge Island
Length: 2.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Public Transit: Yes 

Fort Ward Park
Photo by trip reporter ejain.

What was long ago a military fort to protect the navy yards in Bremerton is now a public park for all to enjoy. This history is on display alongside sweeping views across Puget Sound and a couple trails that traverse a forested hillside to climb up and away from the water. This hike is accessible by public transit, because nature should always be within reach!

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Vashon Island

Island Center Forest

Location: Vashon Island
Length:
10.0 miles of trails
Elevation:
various

Island Center Forest
A gravel path with a grassy buffer winds up the center of the photo, surrounded on all sides by thick underbrush and stands of deciduous trees. The leaves are a mixture of greens, yellows and reds, and several leaves have begun falling on the path. Photo by trip reporter AKorn.

In the heart of Vashon Island, this 363-acre working forest and nature preserve holds Judd Creek, Mukai Pond, wetlands and forested trails. More than 70 species of birds have been identified in the preserve. The site is also home to an exciting carbon sequestration and reforestation project. This hike is accessible by public transit, because nature should always be within reach!

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Maury Island Marine Park

Location: Vashon Island
Length: 
3.0 miles of trails
Elevation Gain: 
500 feet 

Maury Island Marine Park
A foggy day looking out over the Puget Sound from the shores of Maury Park. A pebbly beach makes up the foreground which is covered in a thin layer of drift wood. A few trees and grasses are peeking out to the right of the beach. Photo by trip reporter AKorn.

With over one mile of public shoreline, this park is a a significant piece of public land on the eastern shore of Maury Island. On the beach you'll have impressive views and a high likelihood of spotting a great blue heron or bald eagle. The trails up on the edge of the bluffs are also worth checking out, with more sweeping views across Puget Sound to the Cascades in the distance. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Shinglemill Creek Preserve 

Location: Vashon Island
Length: 
3.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation Gain: 
300 feet 

Shinglemill Preserve
A low tide view of the beach at Shinglehill Preserve. An expanse of seaweed covered rocks and puddles lay out in the foreground, following the shore to the right where the land becomes forested and some houses are seen. A few sailboats are buoyed in the water beyond the shore. Some forested land masses can be seen in the distance to the left. Photo by trip reporter SDavis.

Follow one of the largest creeks on the island as it makes its way to the Puget Sound. This trail starts at the top of a ravine and traces the course of the creek downhill. When you hit the shoreline you will be treated to views of the delta at Fern Cove, where you are likely to see shorebirds hanging out. This trail makes for a good workout because the way back is all uphill. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide