If you like hiking, biking, and kayaking, Lopez Island offers plenty to keep you occupied. This is a small island, at only 15 miles long and 8 miles wide. Friends have asked us, “Do you ever get island fever?” The answer is “No.” In fact, it’s hard to pry us off the island.
We always have intentions of going to Canada (after all, we’re just a ferry ride away). Or even of spending more time in the rest of the San Juan archipelago. But the days fly by, and we don’t even think about going off island. True, we’re only here for two months, and we might feel differently if we were here for much longer. But this time of year, when the days are long, the sun shines brightly, and the temperatures are near perfect, there’s no place we would rather be.
The options for outdoor play are all good. There are numerous hikes through forests of huge ferns and thick mosses, or along rocky headlands with views of distant mountains and islands. And of course, there’s always a beautiful walk along the sand, rock and shell-strewn beaches at Spencer Spit, just a few hundred feet from our campsite. We hop on our bikes for gorgeous rides on peaceful country roads past picturesque farms, or bike along sparkling bays. Surrounding the island are numerous protected coves that are perfect for our kayak adventures. Although we’re out every day hiking, biking, or kayaking, we have yet to explore all that the island offers. (Click on the map above for a larger version of all the great places for Lopez adventures.)
Here, a few of our favorite spots:
Iceberg Point: A 3-mile loop trail wending through a mixed forest and golden grasslands leads to stunning views of the rocky shoreline overlooking the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. This is the place to see Tufted Puffins if they’re around. Parking is available at the San Juan County Park day-use area at nearby Agate Beach, a lovely little beach with beautiful colored rocks. (We’ve yet to find agates, but it’s still fun to hunt for them.)
Shark Reef: A 1/2 mile walk through a thick forest of salal leads to a spectacular craggy shoreline dotted with picturesquely contorted pines. Dozens of seals and hundreds of shorebirds create a cacophony of sound, and sea lions generally make an appearance. A sunset picnic at Shark Reef is one of our Lopez traditions—as dusk descends, the lighthouse at Cattle Point on San Juan Island winks across the San Juan Channel.
Watmough Bay: A turquoise gem with a lovely beach and a view of snow-covered Mt. Baker on the horizon, Watmough Bay is protected and warm on a sunny day. A beautiful 1/2 mile trail on the south side of the bay leads through a magical glen of thick moss and ferns. Chadwick Hill rises 500 feet on the north side, with a network of steep hiking trails through madrones to the summit for expansive views toward Whidbey Island and the mainland.[portfolio_slideshow]
This sounds like my kind of place, all the things I love to do in nature in one place. Your images are lovely, particularly the harbor seals, whose little faces I adore.
It really is special, LuAnn, to have hiking, biking, and kayaking so easily accessible. And all in such a uniquely beautiful place! I love the harbor seals, too. It’s especially fun when they come close while we’re kayaking.
You are just making me eat my heart out over this place. Islands are my favorites and your opening sentence hits all 3 of my top activities. You’d better not talk so loud and put out such gorgeous pictures or you are going to have everyone in blogdom there for late summer. I just don’t know how I can get out there given the current situation but I SOO want to come after these posts. You lucky ducks!!!
We do feel incredibly lucky, Sherry. This is one of the most unique and beautiful places we’ve traveled — and so we keep coming back. It’s another home for us now. I’m envisioning you and David here, somehow, before too much longer. Sending you both hugs.
I can see why your two months may not be enough or even do short island hopping there. It is still a couple of years before we can even be in that area. Just lovely! And again both you and Eric’s capture are just gorgeous.
I hope we can share Lopez with you when you visit, MonaLiza. We would have so much fun together! So glad you enjoyed the photos. It really is this beautiful. :-)
What a lovely roundup of the island. We truly enjoyed our visit to Lopez even though we saw mostly fog. Such a great relaxed spot.
Thanks, Nina. I’m so glad that you and Paul visited Lopez — you certainly saw a lot in your brief visit, and you captured the beauty of the fog. Hope you can return someday when the sun is shining. :-)
Gorgeous! I can see why you love it there.
We do love it, Carol. I overheard a British woman the other day compare Iceberg Point to Cornwall. Wonder if you would think the same?
Lopez looks and sounds like such a lovely place. We hope to visit there in our travels. Your pictures make it come alive!
Marcia, it’s so hard to really capture a place in photos, but we keep trying! If anything, it’s more beautiful than we can portray. Hope you make it here in your travels!
Looks like a fabulous place to spend a couple of months (or more). Beautiful photos :-)
It’s definitely one of our all-time favorites, Ingrid — I know we need to move on, but it’s hard to leave! Glad you enjoyed the photos.
I told John about this island. We decided it would be a good idea to take our bikes and kayak and leave the MH and stay in a B&B for a few days to visit. It looks like such a lovely place from your gorgeous photos.
I love rocks! What beauties along the water:)
Beautiful chickadee standing among the ferns:)
Thanks for more information:)
Pam, that’s a great plan! Biking is a lot of fun on Lopez, and it’s just a few miles into Lopez Village from the ferry landing. Kayak rentals are available at various places on the island. If possible, plan your trip for July-early September; the weather is most likely to be gorgeous then. And if you come during that time next year, we would love to show you around the island! :-)