Worthy of its own page, Moran State Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails, has several lakes, campgrounds, and is also the home of Mount Constitution, which is the highest point in the San Juan Islands. Arriving here by auto or other vehicle requires that you either camp or pay a day use fee or have an annual Discover Pass.
Much of the hiking trail milage is very steep, but there are somewhat flat trails such as the loop around Cascade Lake or Mountain Lake.
Cascade Lake has swimming, and the water is reported to be unusually warm compared to similar water elsewhere. There is no glacier feeding this lake, and therefore it is warmer than you will find in the actual Cascade Mountains or Olympics.
The park is named after the Seattle ship builder that donated a significant amount of his land holdings on Orcas Island for the purpose of creating a public place of recreation.
It is really best to get a map of the park from the Washington State Parks web site, but keep in mind that it does not show the significant elevation gains.
For further reading, please see my Moran State Park page or the Moran State Park Page listed below at the Washington State Parks.
It's an easy hike and well worth it when you reach the tower on top of Mount Constitution.
The tower provides spectacular views of the surrounding Canadian and American terrain, including the Olympic Mountains. The park also features more than 30 miles of trails, five lakes and several waterfalls, an old growth forest and a lodge pole pine forest.
If you are on Orcas Island at the beginning of the second half of August, do not miss the San Juan County Fair in Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island).
The fair has all the exhibits you would expect in a county fair: 4-H, agricultural exhibits, farm animals, food preservation, fiber arts, horse show, rabbit races, arts exhibits and live entertainment. There is a food court and a carnival, as well as commercial booths. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with local residents.
The fair runs Wednesday to Saturday – usually the third Saturday in August. See the website for dates and more details.
Go to Friday Harbor as a foot passenger on the ferry and you won’t have any transportation costs. (Foot passengers ride free between the islands.) You won’t need a car in Friday Harbor; free shuttle buses meet the ferry and will take you to the fair. Or it’s an easy walk from the ferry dock. But be forewarned, the ferries do tend to run a bit late during the fair – especially the inter-island ferry.
The ferry ride between Orcas and Friday Harbor is spectacular.
Go sea kayaking or hiking along the rocky beaches with forests looming overhead. See the seals, otters, bald eagles and seabirds. And take a hike around Mountain Lake in Moran State Park. Go on a whale watch trip. See the oyster farms at low tide.
The Outlook Inn bar & restaurant offers a great menu and the opportunity to try something a bit different...
The shot is an oyster, cocktail sauce and vodka with a wedge of lime. ENJOY!