San Juan Island is a hikers’ island. I have never seen so many trails in such a small area. There are over 80 miles of maintained trails on the island. The trails are located in the National Park, in the Land Conservancy, in San Juan County land, in the State Park, and on Bureau of Land Management land. But it is the Trails Committee that really makes this island a hikers’ oasis.
The San Juan Island Trails Committee is a volunteer group that maintains all the trails on the island. They also publish area maps that are updated annually. We hand out hundreds of these maps at English Camp. The four published maps detail the trails in English Camp, American Camp, Roche Harbor, and Lime Kiln State Park. They make it easy for us to talk to people about the hiking possibilities in the park.
Last week we tried two new-to-us trails. We started with Jakle’s Lagoon Nature Trail. This lovely trail moves through the transition forest next to the coastal prairie at American Camp. We walked down to Jakle’s Lagoon next to the ocean but cut off from it except during storms. The beach was covered with huge pieces of driftwood.
We walked along the beach until we passed Third Lagoon, and then we found the trail that took us through the forest back to the Mount Finlayson Trail. Mount Finlayson is the ridge that runs along the southern peninsula of the island. From the top we had a wonderful view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the coastal prairie laid out between us and the Strait.
Because there are so many hiking trails on San Juan Island, the trails rarely feel crowded. During the four miles of Jakle’s Lagoon and Mount Finlayson, we only saw one other hiker. We have never met more than a handful of people on any of our hikes here. One more reason why San Juan Island is a hikers’ paradise.