Hikes on Orcas Island
The distinctively shaped Turtleback Mountain is a much-loved area for hikers—at 1,520 feet, the second-highest summit in the islands. For hikers and nature lovers, that translates into fantastic views and fascinating flora and fauna. The south-end approach, up the turtle’s “head,” is for those willing to tackle a steep ascent. You’ll enjoy wide-open vistas for much of the climb, but this also means more exposure to the sun. For those less inclined to pant up an exposed climb, choose the north ascent. Here, conifer forest and wetlands replace the grasslands and Garry oaks of the south face.
Obstruction Pass State Park
Obstruction Pass is a small gem for those seeking the atmosphere of a wilderness escape. Situated at the far southeastern tip of Orcas, Obstruction Pass offers 80 acres of parkland to explore plus 10 primitive campsites. The main trails run well under a mile through lush vegetation and forest. The easterly trail leads to a 150-yard beach unique in the islands, covered with marble-sized multicolored pebbles—as well as views of Lopez Island, Blakely Island, and Obstruction Island. The westerly trail ends in a panoramic water view and great picnic site.