Orcas Island Bicycling
Even taking Mount Constitution out of the picture, Orcas Island offers some challenging routes to cyclists.
You’ll likely start off your tour in Eastsound, right in the center of the island. From here you can enjoy a short and easy (compared to the rest of Orcas) ride of six miles out to North Beach, Buckhorn Beach and Crescent Beach. If you want more of a challenge, head to Deer Harbor, 11 miles to the southwest. To get there, you’ll travel through some beautiful farmland at the base of Turtleback Mountain.
Deer Harbor is a small resort area offering dining and lodging and is a hub for tours out onto the water—whale and wildlife trips as well as kayak tours. You can rent bikes here, too, from the marina.
On this western side of the island you can also stop by three different potteries to view ceramics and sometimes even potters at work.
To the east from Eastsound head through Moran State Park, passing alongside Cascade Lake, which offers some fabulous views, and you’ll be able to cool off under the canopy of the forest’s trees, or take a quick swim.
To the south of the park is Olga, a sleepy hamlet where you can check out an artist co-op, eat a gourmet lunch, and rest your weary legs by the water.
Slightly further south is the 80-acre Obstruction Pass State Park. Leave your bikes for a while and enjoy some hiking—or just leave them temporarily to follow the half-mile trail to the beach, which is one of the island’s best.
Continue around the island to Doe Bay, and you’ll notice there’s less traffic on the roads. Here you’ll find the charming Doe Bay Café, which appears to sit on top of the water and offers not only great views but also an exciting selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. There are also accommodations.
There are many other routes, but for the intrepid cyclist, is Mount Constitution—all 2,409 feet of it. You can take the five-mile ride to the top by following a small paved switchback road that sometimes gets as steep as a 15 percent grade. When you see the views from the top of the mountain, all the effort will be worth it.
Escape with TerraTrek on a two- to six-day bicycle and multi-sport vacation through the San Juan Islands. Only a short drive from Seattle or Vancouver B.C., the San Juan Archipelago is an ideal getaway because of our long days of sunshine and plenty of activities. Enjoy cycling along quiet two lane country roads lined with wildflowers that wind down to spectacular vistas of neighboring islands and snowcapped mountain ranges, hiking around lakes that lead down to waterfalls, and kayaking past pebble stone coves and rocky islets in orca whale territory! [more...]