English Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park
Spend a little time on San Juan Island and you’re almost certain to hear about "The Pig War," which in 1859 led to a 12-year joint British/U.S. occupation of the island while the two nations argued over who owned the San Juans. The Royal Marines lived at English Camp, at the north end of the island, and a few buildings, a formal garden, and a cemetery remain from their time here.
Today, this beautiful day-use park on the shores of Garrison Bay includes a small, seasonal visitors’ center and trails that range from a fairly strenuous hike up Young Hill to the cemetery and beyond to an easy 45-minute loop through woodland and along the bay. On Saturdays from June through August, park rangers and volunteers recreate some of the skills of military and civilian life during the island’s early pioneer period; for an entire weekend in July, the park hosts a reenactment of life in the mid-19th-century camp. The park is located about 9 miles from Friday Harbor, 5 miles from Roche Harbor; served by San Juan Transit shuttles late May through early September.
- From the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor, you will be almost immediately directed left on Spring St.
- Stay on Spring St for two blocks and then take a right on Second St.
- Second St turns into Guard St, which turns into Beaverton Valley Rd as it heads out of town.
- After several miles, Beaverton Valley Rd becomes West Valley Rd.
- A little over 8 miles from town you will see the well-signed entrance to English Camp on your left. This is your first left after passing Yacht Haven Rd. If you reach Roche Harbor Rd, you’ve gone too far.
- The entire route is paved. Although this is technically a National Park, no permits are required to park here. There is a bike rack, bathrooms, and parking for approx 25 cars. Dogs are allowed on leash.