Catch Sweeping Views From Atop San Juan Island's Mount Finlayson

Carve out an afternoon for this gentle hike on the island's southern tip.

By Craig Romano October 8, 2012 Published in the November 2012 issue of Seattle Met

Image: Craig Romano

Difficulty Easy
Distance 3.5 miles

The longest stretch of public beach in the San Juans is a spoil of the Pig War, a confrontation in 1859 between the U.S. and Great Britain over the possession of San Juan Island. Fortunately, the only casualty was a British hog. But we ended up with a 1,750-acre national park commemorating the event and protecting stunning coastline. Follow the trail across golden grassland lined with windblown, contorted firs up Mount Finlayson, the long, low ridge named for one of Victoria, British Columbia’s founders. At 1.4 miles, crest the 290-foot summit and take in views of the Cattle Point lighthouse, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains. Then head down a short side trail into a cool ravine, turning left to follow a dirt road back to the trailhead. 

Watch for The undeveloped coastline, which sometimes teems with eagles and whales. 
Getting there From Seattle, take I-5 north to SR 20 in Burlington. Head west to Anacortes and take the state ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Follow Spring St through town turning left on Mullis St (becomes Cattle Point Rd). Reach trailhead (signed for “Jakle’s Lagoon”) in 6.7 miles.

Craig Romano is the author of eight hiking books, including Day Hiking North Cascades (Mountaineers Books).

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