Point Colville– Rugged coastal headland on Lopez Island

 

Quick Facts:

Location: Lopez Island

Land Agency: San Juan Islands National Monument

Roundtrip: 2.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 180 feet

Contact: Bureau of Land Management 

Detailed Information: Day Hiking The San Juans and Gulf Islands (Mountaineers Books)

Notes: Dogs permitted on leash; coastal cliffs—keep children nearby

 Access: From Anacortes, take Washington State Ferry to Lopez Island Landing. Follow Ferry Road south 2.1 miles bearing left onto Center Road. Continue on Center Road for 5.6 miles/ bearing left onto Mud Bay Road. Then proceed for 4.2 miles turning right onto Aleck Bay Road. Continue for .5 mile onto Watmough Head Road. Then after.9 mile turn left into Watmough Bay Preserve.

Good to Know: exceptional wildflowers, bird-watching, whale watching, old-growth, kid-friendly, practice Leave No Trace Principles

 

Point Colville is a spectacular promontory of coastal cliffs, native prairie grasses, and old-growth forest. A unit of the San Juan Islands National Monument, it rivals nearby Iceberg Point in beauty—but not in crowds. The road to Point Colville’s trailhead can be rough and parking can be tight, so it’s best to start this hike from the Watmough Bay Preserve parking area. You can hike to the San Juan County Land Bank’s Watmough Bay and then take a connecting trail to Point Colville; or take the more direct approach by walking a primitive dirt road to the trailhead. After walking .6 mile through primeval forest you’ll reach the unsigned trailhead.

Now head right through a grove of impressive trees soon coming to a junction for a loop through Point Colville.  I prefer to do this loop counterclockwise. So head right breaking out of forest cover to a coastal bluff prairie harboring rare prickly pear cacti and lots of showy wildflowers. Pass a rough side spur that leads right towards the water and using caution, start angling east across high cliff tops around the point.

Marvel at blocky Castle Island just offshore and Colville Island a little farther out. A set of binoculars will allow you to see colonies of sea birds out there; perhaps even tufted puffins. Take in good views of Burrows Island, Mount Baker and Fidalgo’s Mount Eire. And admire contorted firs and junipers on the coastal bluffs and cliffs. Pass a side spur that steeply drops to a secluded beach. Then after skirting a lone home traverse a Sitka spruce grove before closing the loop. Extend your hike by checking out nearby Watmough Bay and Chadwick Hill.

 

For detailed information on this hike as well as nearby Watmough Bay, Chadwick Hill and other great hikes throughout the San Juan Islands, pick up a copy of my  Day Hiking the San Juans and Gulf Islands (Mountaineers Book).

For information on where to stay and on other things to do on the San Juan Island, check out Northwest TripFinder

 

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