Moran State Park


Apr 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Click here for a topographical map of this area.

INDULGE IN: Mountain and road biking, fly-fishing, sea kayaking, hiking

WHY HERE? To escape the congested I-5 corridor, ditch your vehicle in Anacortes, take the hour-long ferry ride to Orcas Island, and bike 13 miles of paved road to one of 15 primitive campsites inside the island's 5,000-acre Moran State Park. Pitch your tent on the needly ground and sleep among imposing Douglas firs, ocean-spray bushes, and lush sword ferns that muffle all but the sound of wrens and finches. From here you can roam over 31 miles of interlaced singletrack trails in the park, many of which‹like the four-mile Mountain Lake loop‹take you past the park's five freshwater lakes stuffed with rainbow and cutthroat trout. (Most trails are open to mountain bikes; check with rangers about closures.) Or pedal five miles to the sleepy port town of Eastsound and rent sea kayaks and paddle along coves and wooded shoreline; experienced kayakers can make the two-mile open-water crossing to explore the pristine beaches and sandstone cliffs of Patos, Sucia, and Matia Islands to the north.

BONUS: Don't miss the 360-degree panoramic view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands from the 2,409-foot summit of Mount Constitution, a five-mile ride from your base camp.

ACCESS: Take Interstate 5 north from Seattle to Mount Vernon, Washington, and then State Highway 20 west to Anacortes. Catch the early ferry (see for current schedules) because the $6-per-night primitive bike-in sites can't be reserved and fill up quickly on holiday weekends.

RESOURCES: Moran State Park, 360-376-2326

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