Under the Stars near Seattle

San Juans: Orcas Island's Obstruction Pass
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Drive north to Anacortes and take the ferry to Orcas Island. From the Orcas Island ferry terminal, follow Horseshoe Highway 17 miles and watch for sign.
Travel Time : 1 1/2 hours to Anacortes ferry terminal, plus waiting time, plus ferry ride, plus 45 minutes around Orcas Island to the campground parking area.
Information : Washington Department of Natural Resources, (360) 856-3500.
Reservations : Not accepted.
Fee : Free.
Open : Year round.

Want to get away from it all in the San Juan Islands? Don't we all. Despite the summer crowds and hours-long waits to get on the ferries, it's still possible to find a little bit of peace and quiet on popular Orcas Island.

Operated by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Obstruction Pass Campground is a tiny pocket park at the far end of the island from the ferry landing (the southern tip of the island's eastern arm). The park is basically a patch of woods and a tiny stretch of beach. Unless you paddle your kayak in from somewhere else, you'll have to carry your gear a half mile in from the parking area. Not too long a haul considering the beauty of this little cove.

What you'll find above the cove's pebble beach are nine campsites and a pit toilet. There's no water here, so be sure to bring your own. A half mile is a bit far to carry a sea kayak, so if you want to make this a kayak camping trip, you'll want to launch from Doe Bay, which is about a 4-mile paddle from the campground.

From Obstruction Pass, it's just a short drive to Moran State Park, which has miles of hiking and mountain biking trails and stupendous views from the summit of Mt, Moran. There's also swimming in the park's Cascade Lake, which also happens to be stocked with rainbow trout (as is nearby Mountain Lake).


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