San Juan Islands: Hiking Moran State Park

By | October 4, 2013
View from the top of mount constitution

View from the top of Mount Constitution.

If you want to get off your boat and do some exploring during your charter, Moran State Park is a can’t-miss stop! Located on Orcas Island, the park was donated to the State of Washington by Seattle Shipbuilder Robert Moran in 1921. Moran is also the original owner of the historical Rosario Resort, previously a single-family home, located near the entrance to the park. (The resort is another must-see site on Orca’s Island. You can read about it in our previous blog post.)

Within Moran State Park, the trails, roads, bridges, and buildings were all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930’s using native materials, making this park both a historical and natural wonder of Orca’s Island. The park boasts over 30 miles of hiking trails as well as the highest point in the San Juan Islands, Mount Constitution. On a clear day, the view from the top of the 2,409 ft. mountain is spectacular. The Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges, all of the San Juan Islands as well as Vancouver Island are all sites that may be visible from the top. Visitors can walk, bike, or drive to the summit, making it an accessible stop for everyone on your charter. Visitors can also swim, fish, or rent a paddleboat at Cascade Lake, located at the base of Mt. Constitution. Recently, the San Juan preservation trust received another land donation from a generous Orca’s Island family. The donated land is adjacent to Moran State Park and will allow visitors access to Moran State Park’s first saltwater beach. This area is accessible via hiking trails, and also contains a historic lime kiln, a nod to the area’s original industry.

For those staying at Rosario Resort a short (but steep) trail leads up to Cascade Lake.  The resort map shows where the trail starts.  For those needing a good leg stretch after a day aboard, a hike around Cascade Lake and back is perfect, and at around 90 minutes it is short enough to sneak in between arrival and dinner.

Here is a video link to the View from Mount Constitution from Bowser F on Vimeo.

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