The U.S. San Juan Islands in the state of Washington and the Canadian Gulf Islands are all part of an archipelago which are known for their unparalleled beauty. While there are over 200 named islands in this region of the Pacific, we’ll only be visiting a few of these on this semi-fixed base tour (5 nights on San Juan Island and 4 nights in Sidney, B.C.). This will be the sixth time your Ride Leader has guided participants on a tour of the San Juan and Gulf Islands., which USA Today has named one of “The World’s Top Bike Rides”.
We’ll all gather in La Conner, Washington as we prepare for our adventure, spending one night in this charming town. The next day we ride the ferry terminal in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, where bicycles get priority loading on Washington State ferries, for Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This will be our base for the next 5 days as we explore the other U.S. islands with free passage on the inter-island ferries. Here are some highlights which previous participants enjoyed:
San Juan Island – The largest of these U.S. islands, is distinguished by the lively seaside town of Friday Harbor, Lime Kiln Point State Park (an orca-whale lookout), lavender farms, sea kayaking excursions, and lots of good cycling roads.
Orcas Island – This horseshoe-shaped island is home to Moran State Park's old-growth forest and Mt. Constitution, the tallest peak on the islands at 2,400 ft. An optional climb to the lookout tower at the top makes for a challenging climb and rewards cyclists with breathtaking views.
Lopez Island –We have a lovely loop ride that takes in forests, ocean views and quaint stores on what is often called the “friendliest island.”
Shaw Island – The smallest and quietest of the islands served by the Washington State ferry system, this ride makes for a scenic and relaxing day.
On day seven we’ll board one of the free Washington State ferries for Orcas Island for a two-night stay at Rosario Resort and Spa located on the shores of Cascade Bay. While some may choose to relax on this layover day, others will want to visit nearby Moran State Park with its old-growth forests and Mt. Constitution, the tallest peak on the islands at 2,400 ft. An optional climb to the lookout tower at the top makes for a challenging climb and rewards cyclists with breathtaking views.
Day nine we step right off the docks at Rosario Resort and Spa onto the Salish Sea, our private charter boat for a 6-hour cruise. We’ll have a shore excursion on Sucia Island, a Marine State Park known for its pristine trails and beaches, abundant bird life and wildlife, and sandstone formations. At the end of our cruise, we’ll step on the mainland in Bellingham, WA.
Day ten we’ll be back on the bikes for a nice ride along Chuckanut Bay and Samish Bay to the village of La Conner, which has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places.