5 autumn hikes in the San Juans and Gulf Islands

Outdoors enthusiasts tend to think of the San Juans and B.C.’s Gulf Islands as a water-recreation paradise, not a hiking destination. Outdoors writer Craig Romano makes the case that these archipelagos are just as majestic by foot as by boat.

To prove his point, he wrote the recently published “Day Hiking the San Juans and Gulf Islands”, with 136 hikes on both the Washington and British Columbia sides of the border.

“People don’t realize there are so many hiking trails on the islands,” he said. “You might see only a few parks on an island map, but all the islands have land-trust preserves. They are private, protected land that are usually open to the public.”

Most hikes in his guide can be reached by ferry or car. And the few hikes that can’t be accessed by ferry can be reached by water taxi. There are hikes on coastal ledges and bluffs, beaches and coves. Others visit lighthouses, or traverse forests that were old even when George Vancouver sailed into the Salish Sea, Romano said.

Fall is his favorite time to visit since ferry and hotel rates are lower, crowds are sparse and the forecast is often still sunny.

Here are his five favorite autumn hikes included in the guide…


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