San Juan Island Cycle

Last weekend my roommate, Matt, and I cycled around San Juan island.  I thought I would describe our trip for those of you who might be interested.  It was a ton of fun, and I would recommend it everyone.

Drive from Seattle to Anacortes
The trip started with Matt and me leaving Seattle at 6:00am.  We arrived in Anacortes at around 7:30am, just in time for the 7:45am ferry.  Look here for a complete ferry schedule.  The drive was quick and easy.

Ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
The ferry ride cost us around $14 each — $10 per person and $4 per bike.  It was very empty and very pleasant.  The ferry weaved through the San Juan islands and stopped at Orcas Island before arriving at Friday Harbor.  The ride was about 90 minutes and probably would have been around an hour without the Orcas Island stop.

Cycle around the Island
We started and ended our loop in Friday Harbor.  The route we took is mapped here.  Google says it’s 25 miles, but I have no way of confirming that.  The roads were constantly changing pitch, giving us short amounts of time on downhills and long amounts of time on uphills.  The island is generally flat, so each hill was relatively moderate but still challenging.  The whole ride took us about three hours, including at least 45 minutes of site seeing, relaxation, and photography.  The scenery was totally diverse — we traveled along cliff-side roads, through thick forests, beside farms (including Alpaca farms!), and across small prairies.  It was tons of fun!

About half way around the island was a national park and campsite.  If I were to do this ride again, I would pack a sleeping back and tarp and spend the night at this campsite.  The site is right on the water with a view of Victoria Island, and it was relatively deserted when we stopped to rest.

We ate awesome fish and beef burgers at The Hungry Clam restaurant after our ride in Friday Harbor’s quant downtown.  We also took a short stroll around the town, which consisted mostly of souvenir and tourist shops.

Ferry to Anacortes, Drive to Seattle
The trip back to Seattle was more or less the same as the trip up.  However, this time our ferry had come from Canada.  This meant that we had to go through customs on our way off the boat, which took all of two or three minutes.  We didn’t have our passports, and the border patrol officer was content with that.

All in all the trip was awesome, and I’m totally glad I did it.  It’s a relatively easy ride, but the scenery and isolation make it worthwhile. I wish I would have camped one night at the national park, but I suppose it was nice to pack light. Actually, come to think of it, it would be pretty challenging to bike around the island twice in a row. Maybe I’ll do that next :).