Author Topic: San Juan trip - suggestions  (Read 2453 times)

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Offline Max!

San Juan trip - suggestions
« on: November 10, 2012, 04:33:01 pm »
I've never been thorugh the San Juans and wanted to see if anyone would offer up any advice on my proposed route. I'm started and ending in N.Seattle.

http://goo.gl/maps/cZPc8

Offline Max!

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 10:21:18 pm »
The toughest part I'm having is getting to Anacordes to make the ferry and the routes I know of are:

* The RSVP route to Mt Vernon
* The Kingston Edmonds Ferry and ride to Pt. Townsend, possibly camp, and then ride the length of the Widbey on my way to the ferry terminal to Orcas/San Juan/etc.
* Bainbridge (or Bremerton ferry up)
* Bus to Everett to Mt Vernon
* Fancy Ferry (closed seasonally - specially this season)

Does anyone have any opinion on this one? I think the Kingston/Edmonds ferry seems like the best option for me.  Unfortuantely, I found out the Pt. Townsend hostel closed down.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 01:42:45 pm »
Hey Max!

I've ridden all of those options that you listed and they all have points in their favor  Here's a route that I setup for someone here who asked about Seatac to Anacortes: http://g.co/maps/hw2up

This more or less follows the Interurban to Everett and then a pretty direct route to Mukilteo.  The routes on Whidbey and Anacortes are the most scenic routes - not the fastest or shortest. But the most off the highways and like I said the most scenic. This is pretty much the most direct route and you can camp at South Whidbey State Park or Deception Pass State Park if you want to split up the distance (its a bit less then 100 miles from your start point). Both of those campgrounds have hiker/biker sites.

Note that this ends right in Anacortes which if you want to go right to the ferry may not be what you want. However Anacortes is worth hitting for supplies, restaurants, pubs, the 24 Hour Donut shop &c.  Then you just ride the signed 20 spur to the Ferry.  However if you camped at say Deception Pass and wanted to ride straight to the ferry you should turn Left onto Marine Drive from Rosario Road and then Left again to stay on it. This becomes Anaco which takes you right to Sunset Ave where you turn right and you'll be at the road down to the ferry. I should say though that I really recommend my route through the center of Fidalgo as it's a nicer ride and beautiful.

If you go inland that is also great riding.  You could do Edmonds to Port Townsend in a longish day. I'd camp at Fort Townsend State Park which is a few miles outside of PT and will cut down the mileage. It also has a great hiker/biker site. Don't skip out on Port Townsend Brewing :) 

On the San Juan's themselves, well they are all great riding. Lopez is the flatest with only the climb up from the Ferry. Orcas is the most hilliest but very scenic, the most quirky and Moran State Park is excellent (Plus Mt. Constitution is must do). San Juan Island has the most riding and interesting historical things to see. Plus Friday Harbor is the biggest town out there and you'll find the most groceries, restaurants and pubs (though I hear the great Front Street Ale House is closed). Shaw is the smallest but not without its charms. It has a little county park there where the hiker/biker camping was super cheap and right on the beach. I don't recall there being much shopping options on Shaw (there probably is a general store but I can't remember it) so I'd bring at least some food supplies with you if you stay there. Orcas and Friday Harbor both have plenty of options.

The Vancouver Island option is a great choice - lots of great riding there plus Victoria is an excellent city. Good hostel there, plenty to see and do and a number of great pubs.  I assume you'll ride the Lochside Trail from the ferry to the city, which is definitely the way to go. It rides pretty much right past the hostel once you get into the city (though its pretty much city riding at that point).  It also connects right to the Galloping Goose Trail which is an amazing trail that goes pretty far up the western edge of the island. But whatever you do on Vancouver Island it will be nice.  Looks like you are taking the Ferry back, the Victoria Clipper I assume. Note that with them you bicycle is more or less exposed to the elements and they recommend you strip off all your gear. So be prepared for that.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 01:52:14 pm by Itinerant Harper »

Offline indyfabz

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 11:25:24 am »
Do you mean Fort Worden outside of Port Townsend? If so, +1.  Have stayed there twice. Definitely nice hiker/biker sites and nice shore.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 01:41:05 pm »
Do you mean Fort Worden outside of Port Townsend? If so, +1.  Have stayed there twice. Definitely nice hiker/biker sites and nice shore.

No, I meant Fort Townsend State Park: http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Fort%20Townsend

Fort Worden is fantastic of course with excellent Hiker/Biker sites and all the great beaches and hikes and such.  Definitely worth staying at. However when coming up from the South staying at Fort Townsend can cut off a few miles at the end of your day. It is right on the trail into Port Townsend and it's pretty much all downhill into town. If you are just coming in in the evening and going to leave next morning I think it's the better option. But if one can spend some time actually doing stuff at Fort Worden it is the place to go.  Great place for a rest day - beyond all the stuff at Fort Worden itself you can easily take the bus into PT or a nice walk through the town which has a lot of old classic architecture.

Offline Max!

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 03:58:55 pm »
Thanks Harper, I ended up taking the Victoria Cutter, well from DNTN to Victoria, explored the city and outlying areas (they have a really cool bike coop  on the galloping goose trail BTW) spent the night and then rode to Sidney, took the ferry to San Juan Island, and spent two days biking around there (I've got friends with a hot tub who live there!) . . . and then doubled back on my route back home.

The weather was really nice with only a little bit of rain on my last day - and really the just intermittently during the last 15-20 miles.

It looks like there is just a ton of riding out there, so I will plan on taking your route in the near future.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2012, 12:27:35 pm »
Sounds like a good trip - you can't really go wrong out there. Plenty to explore too; if you do a longer time out in the Islands I highly recommend riding Canada's Gulf Islands along with the US San Juans. It's the same island chain but just across the border. However the character of the islands is remarkably different.