Washington's San Juan Islands
This weeklong inn-to-inn tour weaves along the glorious northwestern coastline of Washington’s Puget Sound and through its famous San Juan Islands, offering an irresistible combination of manageable daily mileages and world-class scenery. Since we’ll leave our camping and cooking gear at home, it’s the perfect tour for cyclists who enjoy bicycling self-contained, but prefer sleeping in a bed rather than in a tent.
We’ll spend our days leisurely pedaling the waterfront, spinning inland through fertile farmlands and scenic villages full of interesting shops and top-notch seafood restaurants. On many days, our cycling will be broken up by ferry rides, from which you might glimpse orca whales, seals, or bald eagles! Grab your bike, your camera, and your sense of adventure — because you’re in for a week of Pacific Northwest bicycling that you’ll never forget!
"The ride exceeded my expectations in every way. I will certainly participate in other Adventure Cycling rides in the future."
Day 1. Anacortes, Washington, 0 miles.
Our group will assemble this evening in the town of Anacortes, gateway to the San Juan Islands. In fact, our trailhead lodging is located right next to the Washington State Ferry terminal, the hub of most water travel in this area. Nearby we'll enjoy dinner together and have our first map meeting before socializing a bit and resting up for our week of adventure.
Day 2. Anacortes to Deception Pass Loop, 27 miles.
Today we'll do some exploring of the Anacortes area and ride by the world famous Deception Pass. We'll briefly leave Fidalgo Island, traveling to Whidbey Island by way of the high bridge spanning Deception Pass, from which we'll look down on the swirling tidal flows in the narrow passage below. There will be plenty of time today to capture great photos and explore the many trails that Deception Pass State Park has to offer. We'll return to Anacortes for another night in this great town, getting ready to catch a ferry tomorrow morning.
Day 3. Anacortes to Friday Harbor, 22 miles.
First thing in the morning, we'll load ourselves and our bikes onto one of the Washington State Ferries which will bring us to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Upon arrival at Friday Harbor, the "capital city" of the islands, we'll have lunch, drop our bags, and set out for a loop trip around the northern half of the island. We'll pass through the "English Camp" section of the San Juan Island National Historical Park and also visit the famous Roche Harbor Resort at the northern tip of the island. The final leg of the day's ride will take us back to Friday Harbor, where we'll spend the next two nights in true comfort.
Day 4. San Juan Island loop, 34 miles.
Today’s journey will lead us along pastoral country lanes and the western coastal road of San Juan Island. We’ll visit the “American Camp” section of the San Juan Island National Historical Park and the Cattle Point Lighthouse at the island’s southern tip. Continuing our loop, we’ll arrive back in Friday Harbor for some lunch and sightseeing.
Day 5. San Juan Island to Eastsound, Orcas Island, 20 miles.
Starting out, we’ll board the morning ferry for the short boat ride to nearby Orcas Island. We’ll ride across the entire arc of this horseshoe-shaped island, from the ferry landing at the southwest tip to the little village of Olga on the southeast tip. Along the way, we’ll ride past inland farms and shellfish farms on the shore. We’ll finish the day in the island’s main town, Eastsound, around lunchtime, and here we’ll spend the next two evenings.
Day 6. Orcas Island loop, 30 miles.
Today is a relatively big day for this relaxed trip in terms of vertical feet gained. This trip’s most notable climb occurs early in the day: the 4.5-mile, 2,300-foot climb to the top of Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park. The magnificent views from the summit and the thrilling descent back down the biggest mountain in the San Juans will make this signature part of the tour worth the effort. Once at sea level, we’ll ride out to the town of Olga, returning to our home in Eastsound at the end of the day.
Day 7. Orcas Island to Lopez Island, 38 miles.
We’ll start today with an eight-mile ride to the ferry landing, hopping aboard for the short ride to Lopez Island. Our counterclockwise loop around Lopez starts down the west side of the island, where we’ll quickly enter Lopez Village, location of the island’s only grocery, eateries, and other stores. After departing the village, we’ll ride through a pleasing mix of farmland and shoreline terrain. On the southwest corner of Lopez, we might stop at Shark Reef Sanctuary and hike to the shore, which is a prime location for viewing grey whales and orcas. At the southernmost point of the island, Agate Beach County Park offers beautiful picnicking and beachcombing for the variegated round rocks and pebbles that have been worn by the constant action of the ocean waves. We’ll then ride up the eastern side of Lopez to Spencer Spit State Park and back to Lopez Village, spending our final evening afield at the Lopez Islander Resort. We’ll also celebrate with a sumptuous farewell dinner.
Day 8. Lopez Island to Anacortes, 7 miles.
We’ll begin our final day with a quick six-mile ride to the ferry landing at the northern tip of Lopez Island, where we’ll board the ferry for the ride back to the terminal in Anacortes. We will end our journey with a final lunch together after disembarking the ferry in Anacortes. Although this leg of the journey ends where we set out a week ago, the friendships forged and the memories we’ve made will leave us feeling fresh and renewed!
Know before you go
Information for eBike riders:
Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended. Remember, there is no vehicle support on our inn-to-inn trips, and you would need to carry the extra battery along with all of your other things.