loading spinner
Washington

Two-Island Trek: Great Coastal Hikes in the San Juan Islands

Program No. 16296RJ
Enjoy coastal and forest hikes and explore unique ecosystems while learning about conservation efforts and wildlife preservation efforts on two of the San Juan Islands.
Length
7 days
Rating (4.67)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,149

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 7 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
2,149
May 20 - May 26, 2023
Starting at
2,149
Jun 10 - Jun 16, 2023
Starting at
2,499
Jul 22 - Jul 28, 2023
Starting at
2,499
Jul 29 - Aug 4, 2023
Starting at
2,499
Itinerary Note

Rossmoor Trails Club

Aug 19 - Aug 25, 2023
Starting at
2,499
Itinerary Note

CoCo Hikers

Sep 16 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
2,349
Sep 23 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
2,349
Sep 30 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
2,149
Oct 14 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
2,149
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 7 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
2,579
May 20 - May 26, 2023
Starting at
2,579
Jun 10 - Jun 16, 2023
Starting at
3,249
Jul 22 - Jul 28, 2023
Starting at
3,249
Jul 29 - Aug 4, 2023
Starting at
3,249
Itinerary Note

Rossmoor Trails Club

Aug 19 - Aug 25, 2023
Starting at
3,249
Itinerary Note

CoCo Hikers

Sep 16 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
2,949
Sep 23 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
2,949
Sep 30 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
2,579
Oct 14 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
2,579

At a Glance

Revel in the seascapes of untold beauty with expert naturalists, marine educators and environmentalists who lead you into their backyard world of the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea. Consider the environmental issues of the prairie bluff, beach, mountain and old-growth forest ecosystems. Journey by ferry to Orcas Island to witness the profusion of life and the fragility of beauty along Washington’s fabled diamonds of the emerald seas.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Walking 2-6 miles daily on varied terrain and boarding vans.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy coastal and wooded hikes on San Juan Island with views of the beach and mountains.
  • Hike the old-growth forest on Orcas Island and around mountain lakes of Moran State Park and Mount Constitution.
  • Search for Orcas and other marine mammals of the Salish Sea from the vantage point of the Limekiln Lighthouse.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Cindy Hansen
Cindy received her Bachelor's degree in zoology with a focus on marine mammals from the University of Washington. She was the onboard naturalist for Mosquito Fleet Whale Watching for eight years, worked as the education curator for The Whale Museum from 2007 to 2016, and is currently the education and events coordinator for Orca Network. Since 2001, she has spent the winters migrating with the gray whales to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja, Mexico and working as a naturalist and group leader for Baja Discovery.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Cindy Hansen
Cindy Hansen View biography
Cindy received her Bachelor's degree in zoology with a focus on marine mammals from the University of Washington. She was the onboard naturalist for Mosquito Fleet Whale Watching for eight years, worked as the education curator for The Whale Museum from 2007 to 2016, and is currently the education and events coordinator for Orca Network. Since 2001, she has spent the winters migrating with the gray whales to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja, Mexico and working as a naturalist and group leader for Baja Discovery.
Profile Image of Shona Aitken
Shona Aitken View biography
Shona Aitken has a degree in ecology and a background in environmental education in her home country of Scotland, and from two years spent in Sweden. She is currently the education coordinator for Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island. She teaches people about local wildlife and increases awareness of the impact of human activities on wild creatures.
Profile Image of Bill Engle
Bill Engle View biography
Bill Engle is a retired postmaster of Shaw Island. He grew with a mountain-climbing father and a gardening, birding, environmental activist mother, and has always had a passion for the outdoors. He has lived in the San Juan Islands for more than 30 years and is the founding president of the San Juan Islands Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. Before becoming postmaster, his role as a part-time flex clerk placed him in every post office in San Juan County.
Profile Image of Kathleen Foley Lewis
Kathleen Foley Lewis View biography
Kathleen Foley is the Stewardship Manager of the San Juan Preservation Trust and has been a staff member since 2005. In this role, she oversees the management of 30+ different nature preserves, conducts annual monitoring visits, and coordinates restoration activities and youth education. She is a Washington native with a long history of exploring the San Juan Islands and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor pursuits. Kathleen lives with her son, Evan, and partner, Bill, near the lovely False Bay on San Juan Island.
Profile Image of Teddy Deane
Teddy Deane View biography
Teddy Deane is a career musician, songwriter and entertainer. Known for his versatility, he has toured with bands throughout the USA and Europe in addition to directing and composing musicals, an opera and several children’s shows. He has performed on and released full-length commercial recordings and over 150 of his compositions or advertising jingles have been professionally produced. In 2000, Teddy and his wife moved from Portland, OR to San Juan Island, where Teddy continues to write and perform his own brand of entertainment.
Profile Image of Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok View biography
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok spent his early summers in the San Juan Islands immersed in Orca whale culture. As a researcher for the Center for Whale Research, he became intimately familiar with the Southern Resident Orca whale population as they traveled through the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia. Kelley's experiences with whales led him to a career in the media communication field, developing a greater appreciation and understanding of the beauty and diversity of the San Juan Islands and surrounding region along the way.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Friday Harbor
by Mike Vouri, San Juan Historical Society, Julia Vouri
A book that reviews the rich history and residents of Friday Harbor throughout the past 100 years.
A Field Guide to Coastal Flowers of the Pacific Northwest
by Phillipa Hudson
With gorgeous full-colour photos arranged in an easy-to-use colour coded chart for quick identification, the pocket-sized format is perfect for taking along on walks and hikes through both the Pacific Northwest countryside as well as the urban wilds of West Coast cities. Supplying English and Latin names, the distribution range of each species and average plant height and flower size, Phillipa Hudson shares her knowledge of coast flora gained through over 30 years as an active amateur botanist.
Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands (second edition)
by Scott Atkinson & Fred Sharpe
This wonderful field guide illustrates and describes more than 190 species of wildflowers, shrubs, trees and weeds that occur commonly throughout the San Juan Islands as well as the Gulf Islands of near Vancouver Island, Canada. The text also includes information on how the climate, topography and geology of the Islands affect plant life.
Birding in the San Juan Islands
by Mark G. Lewis and Fred A. Sharpe
Handy guide for visitor's and residents alike to learn more about Island birds, seasonality, local "hot spots", and how the insular ecosystems affects bird behavior.
Hiking the San Juan Islands
by Ken Wilcox
The famed San Juan Islands of Northwest Washington State offer some of the most charming, scenic and naturally diverse landscapes and seascapes anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. A host of parks, trails, beaches, and protected wildlands are available to enjoy for hiking. This guide includes listings and maps for the surround archipelago, including Whidbey, Camano, Fidalgo, Cypress, and land-based counties near the San Juan Islands.
North Puget Sound: Afoot and Afloat
by Marge & Ted Mueller
An insiders guide to the North Puget Sound region of Washington State.
San Juan Islands Wildlife: A Handbook for Exploring Nature
by Evelyn Adams
Natural beauty and a rich diversity of wildlife draw thousands of visitors annually to Washington's San Juan Islands. Until now, there has never been a book that provides an overview of natural life in this beautiful archipelago. San Juan Islands Wildlife is an informative and affectionate look at the habits and habitats of the flora and fauna found within the unique environment of the region.
Trees and Shrubs for Pacific Northwest Gardens
by John A. Grant, Carol L. Grant
Northwest gardeners have relied on the solid information found in various editions of this book for more than 50 years. This greatly enlarged 1990 edition reflects the vast increase in suitable plants for the region now available from area nurseries
Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska
by Jim Pojar
This easy-to-use field guide features 794 species of plants commonly found along the Pacific coast from Oregon to Alaska, including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, aquatic plants, grasses, ferns, mosses and lichens. PLANTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST covers the coastal region from shoreline to alpine, including the western Cascades. Includes wonder photos, range maps, and more! Rich and engaging notes on each species describe aboriginal and other local uses of plants for food, medicine and implements, along with unique characteristics of the plants and the origins of their names. For both amateurs and professionals, this is the best, most accessible, most up-to-date guide of its kind.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Seattle
D
Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: After you have your room assignment, head to the conference room at 5:00 p.m. to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where our Orientation session will take place. You’ll receive a welcome packet with an up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. If you will arrive later than 8:00 p.m., please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Our Group Leaders will also serve as our hiking instructors throughout the program. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Conference Dining Room, we’ll enjoy a catered northwest-style meal, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Deception Pass Gorge, Fidalgo Island, to San Juan Island
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Hiking approx. 2.5 miles near Deception Pass; about 2 hours depending on group pace. Rolling terrain, dirt paths, gravel in some areas, uneven footing, some exposed rocks and roots on the trail. Ferry ride is approx. 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: You'll receive a breakfast voucher. Breakfast is served in the lobby restaurant.

Morning: We'll travel by motorcoach to Fidalgo Island for a mid-morning hike along the northern shoreline of the Deception Pass Gorge led by our Group Leader and trail experts. The Deception Pass area is a dramatic seascape where the tidal flow and whirlpools beneath the twin bridges connecting Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island move quickly. We'll hike beaches, forested bluffs, and rocky headlands that offer picturesque vistas of the area and opportunities to spot wildlife.

Lunch: At a picnic area in Deception Pass State Park, we'll have sack lunches featuring a sandwich, chips, bakery snack, deli salad, and a drink.

Afternoon: Next, we'll board our motorcoach and travel northward to Anacortes where we'll transfer to the WA State ferry bound for San Juan Island. You may wish to enjoy the view from the inside passenger cabins or from the outside decks as we take our 1.5 hour journey through the archipelago to Friday Harbor. Upon arrival at the dock we’ll walk about 5 blocks to the hotel to check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal featuring salad, a main entrée, sides, vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee, hot and iced tea, milk, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: We’ll then be joined in the hotel conference room by a local resident expert who will offer an insider’s look at contemporary life in the Islands and explores issues affecting island life.

DAY
3
San Juan Islands National Park Wildlife & Hike American Camp
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Hiking approx. 4 miles total on four separate segments; opportunities to shorten or opt out of route segments based on personal preference to abbreviate the total route length. Well maintained trail in most places, some gravel beach, watch for erosion on trails close to cliff edge; rocky shoreline and upland trails have several short modest elevation gains, including one section with elevation gain of approx. 300 feet.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel conference room.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll gather in the hotel conference room for a presentation from a local expert on our local resident orca pods. We’ll also hear recordings of a uniquely social population using their “language” to communicate with one another. A quick review of the day’s hikes will follow. Later in the morning we’ll head out to the trail! Traveling via vans, our route will be divided into four segments, so opportunities to shorten the overall route length are available. You may choose to hike any and all of the four segments as you wish.

Lunch: Out on the trail, we’ll have our sack lunches featuring a sandwich, chips or deli salad, beverage, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone.

Afternoon: Hiking will continue throughout the afternoon along the coastal prairie and bluffs in the San Juan Island National Historic Park at American Camp featuring views of the Haro Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, and Vancouver Island. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Hotel dinner.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
4
Orcas Island Hiking, Moran State Park
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Hiking approx. 6.5 miles total over the course of the day on two hiking segments: Mountain Lake Loop is approx. 4 miles, up to 2.5 hours, on woodland trail with root and rock outcroppings, around 920 feet in elevation; Little Summit Trail is approx. 2 miles, about 1 hour, around 390 foot gradual decrease in elevation. Getting on/off vans; total driving distance of about 20 miles, with stops; transfers of approx. 1/2 hour. Getting on/off ferry; ride to Orcas Island is less than 1 hour one way.

Breakfast: Early hotel breakfast.

Morning: At the dock, we'll board the ferry for a ride to the neighboring Orcas Island where we’ll go on a hike in the old growth forest as we circumnavigate Moran State Park's Mountain Lake, a local favorite quiet and unexpectedly. At the end of the hike, we’ll take a van to the summit of Mt. Constitution to savor incredible marine views of the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands.

Lunch: At the summit of Mt. Constitution, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.

Afternoon: Our hikes will continue on Orcas Island with the Little Summit Trail, which affords beautiful views of eastern Orcas Island and Rosario Strait from periodic vantage points. We’ll finish up our hike in the late afternoon and take the return ferry to the hotel on San Juan Island.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Friday Harbor. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Hike San Juan Island, Mt. Young, British Camp, Roche Harbor
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Hiking approx. 5.5 to 6.5 miles total for the day, dependent on personal preference. Mount Young hike is approx. 4 miles; about 2 hours; elevation gain of about 650 feet; well-maintained trails. Bell Point Loop is approx. 1 mile; less than 1 hour; well-maintained flat trail. Afternoon Choice 1: 1/2 mile walk. Choice 2: approx. 1.5 mile hike; logging roads and well-maintained trails, some tree roots and minor rocky footing in sections. Driving approx. 14 miles for the day; about 1/2 hour total.

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel conference room for a presentation by a representative from the San Juan Island Preservation Trust Stewardship and learn about the island’s most precious resource: undeveloped land. Traveling by van to the trail head, our Group Leaders and hiking experts will outline the hike for the day. Opportunities to shorten the overall hiking distance available to those who wish. For the first leg of our trek within San Juan Island National Park, we’ll climb up Mount Young and make our way over and down into English Camp on the shores of Garrison Bay. Lovely views of the surrounding islands from atop the mountain makes for a fulfilling morning hike.

Lunch: At English Camp National Park, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.

Afternoon: Easier going, the Bell Point Loop on the shores of serene Garrison Bay offers a more relaxed and serene shoreline trail with no elevation gain. Upon completion of Bell Point Loop, we’ll transfer via vans to historic Roche Harbor Village on the Island’s northwest corner. While in Roche Harbor, we’ll have a choice of walking activity, each led by either the Group Leader or hiking experts. Choice 1: Set out on a short stroll through an outdoor sculpture park where we’ll view various works of art and sculptures. Choice 2: Stroll a short distance to historic Roche Harbor village to explore its and enjoy its lovely marina and English gardens. In the late afternoon, we’ll return by vans to the hotel before setting out on foot to explore the Whale Museum. Led by a museum docent while here, we'll find a fascinating collection of exhibits, artwork, models, and artifacts displayed to promote stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Dinner: Hotel dinner.

Evening: For those who wish, our Group Leader will provide details for you to enjoy an optional marina dock walk in Friday Harbor own your own. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
6
San Juan Island Coastal Hike, Free Time, Farewell
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Hiking approx. 2.5 miles; about 2 hours with rest breaks; gently rolling terrain at sea level, well maintained single or double track dirt paths throughout.

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll be joined by a wildlife rehabilitation expert who will give a presentation about wildlife of the San Juan Islands. In the late morning, we’ll set out via van for a hike along the grassy shorelines and beaches of San Juan Island starting from Jakle’s Lagoon parking area. We’ll experience the peacefulness of the national park's American Camp and Griffin Bay area beneath the cedar and fir canopy with its pristine lagoons and estuaries until we conclude near Cattle Point Lighthouse at the island’s southern tip.

Lunch: At Cattle Point’s picnic tables with wonderful marine views, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll then take some time to independently explore Cattle Point Interpretive Area, which includes views of the neighboring Lopez Island, shorebirds and cetaceans, the restored lighthouse, and remnants of the Navy radio station that was in operation from the 1920s through the 1930s. Returning to hotel in the mid-afternoon, take some time to enjoy Friday Harbor independently, or just relax.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a tasty farewell dinner.

Evening: We'll have a short review of our program week. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. Tomorrow’s departure details will be provided. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:15 a.m. Ferry transfer to Anacortes, WA, is approx. 20 miles; about 1.5 hours. Driving approx. 100 miles from Anacortes to Seattle; about 2.5 hours. Drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel will be at approximately 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively. Scheduling outbound flights after 2:30 p.m. is advised.

Breakfast: Early hotel breakfast.

Morning: Once checked-out of the hotel, we’ll depart Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, via the Washington State Ferry. Upon docking, we’ll transfer to a chartered motorcoach and ride to Seattle with drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.