Cycling the San Juan Islands
From quiet pebble beaches to blossoming meadows, our San Juan Island cycling vacation is a peaceful retreat from busy everyday life.
A scenic ferry ride from Washington's Fidalgo Island brings us to the maritime world of the San Juans. Here we bike on serene island roads, navigating around harbors, inlets, bays, and rolling, green mountains. We cycle through colorful tulip nurseries and old sheep farms. We visit artist colonies and taste of fresh seafood cuisine. In the fall, we can pick our fill of wild berries from just about anywhere along the way. A half-day's ride takes us to the top of Mt. Constitution, where we climb up an old stone fort's princess tower for a bird's-eye view of the entire San Juan Island chain, the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound, Olympic National Park, and Cascade mountain range! The San Juans are also a natural haven for wildlife. We cycle, swim, and kayak in the natural habitats of great blue herons, black-tailed deer, cormorants, seals, sea otters, and king fishers. We watch for dolphins and orca whales as we ferry through the island channels, where whale-season sightings are guaranteed!
Event schedule and times
Day 1 | La Conner
After meeting in Seattle, we will shuttle to La Conner for a light lunch, pre-trip meeting, and orientation to the region.
From La Conner, a quaint fishing village, we begin our ride through beautiful Skagit Valley. Skagit Valley is renowned for its multitude of tulips and daffodils, but it also provides great views in the distance as you look out upon the Swinomish Channel. The afternoon ride is a breeze while we get used to the bikes and the fresh Puget Sound air. Our inns tour guests will spend the evening in La Conner at the historic Country Inn, while our camp tour continues to the phenomenal Deception Pass and Whidbey Island.
Total Mileage | 25 miles (inns), 25-40 miles (camp)
Camp | Whidbey Island Inn | Country Inn, La Conner
Total ascent | 545ft Total descent | 422ft
Day 2 | La Conner to Orcas Island
We start our day with a ride to Anacortez. Our inns tour guests will have their opportunity to visit the spectacular deception pass this morning, while our camping guests will have the extra time for a scenic spin around Washington Park, a beautiful picnic spot on Rosario Strait with amazing views of the San Juans and the Olympic mountain range. We’ll board our ferry to Orcas Island in Anacortez. The ferry ride will provide our lunch time scenery.
Once we arrive on Orcas Island, we’ll continue our ride 8 miles to the town of Eastsound. Orcas Island is a beautiful combination of rural landscapes dotted with western hemlock and more wildlife than you can imagine. We will spend two days here cycling rural winding roads and open valleys.
Total Mileage | 32 miles (inns), 25 miles (camping)
Camp | Moran State Park Inn | Outlook Inn, Eastsound
Total ascent | 1370ft Total descent | 1322ft
Day 3 | Orcas Island
This morning we’ll make our way over to the impressive Mt. constitution. Willing riders can enjoy a challenging ride to the top, while the others are shuttled part way up and continue the rest of the way on a beautiful, forested hiking trail. From the top, the highest point in the San Juans, gaze at a panorama of the Canadian Gulf Islands and the Olympic and Cascade ranges.
Our lunch spot is back at the bottom beside Cascade Lake. Our optional afternoon ride is to a quaint pottery shop and bakery in Olga. If you’ve had enough riding for the day, you’re welcome to enjoy the afternoon in Eastsound.
Tonight we have a special surprise! We’ll shuttle to the Rosario Mansion to learn about its builder and local philanthropist Robert Moran. We’ll conclude our evening with a concert in the music room, where Moran’s original 1913 Aeolian Pipe Organ and 1900 Steinway Grand Piano are still housed.
Total Mileage | 10-30 miles, 1-5 miles hiking (optional)
Camp | Moran State Park Inn | Outlook Inn, Eastsound
Total ascent | 2279ft Total descent | 2256ft
Day 4 | Orcas Island to San Juan Island
We begin our day exploring the West side of Orcas Island. We travel twisting and secluded back roads to Orcas Island Pottery, one of our favorite stops on the islands. Over 22 different potters from the island and surrounding areas display their work here at one of the oldest pottery studios in the Northwest. After our visit, we’ll continue to the ferry stop to await our lunchtime ride to San Juan Island and Friday Harbor.
Once on San Juan Island we’ll have the afternoon off of the bikes to enjoy an activity of your choice. San Juan Island offers a number of tourist activities, from whale watching or kayaking, to the whale museum and shopping. Your guide can help you make arrangements for alternative ½ day tours.
Total Mileage | 12 miles
Camp | Lakedale Resort Inn | Elements, Friday Harbor
Total ascent | 739ft Total descent | 758ft
Day 5 | San Juan Island
Today is a fun and hilly ride around the entire San Juan Island. We'll ride to American Camp, a national historic park featured in an 1859 war between England and the United States, Cattle Point Light House, and Lime Kiln State Park- the only state park in the country devoted to observing orca whales. The riding today is nothing short of spectacular! Enjoy a relaxing evening strolling the quaint streets of Friday Harbor.
Total Mileage | 42 miles
Camp | San Juan Island Inn | Elements, Friday Harbor
Total ascent | 743ft Total descent | 748ft
Day 6 | Lopez Island
Cycle along the coast to the south end of Lopez Island. Here we enjoy lunch overlooking a secluded beach. The Olympic Mountains linger with the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south, Victoria and Vancouver Island are to the west, and San Juan Island and Puget Sound in the foreground.
We will conclude our tour with a ferry to Anacortez and shuttle back to Seattle.
Total Mileage | 10-30 miles
Total ascent | 616ft Total descent | 645ft