Guemes Channel and Ship Harbor trails
HIKE DESCRIPTION: A pair of short trails with big aspirations allows visitors to Anacortes to explore the Guemes Channel waterfront. They’re also arguably the most entertaining way to burn time while you’re waiting for a ferry to the San Juan Islands.
Reaching the trails from the ferry ramp requires a bit of a scramble over a sandy bank, but it should be manageable for most. There is plenty of parking near the Washington State Ferry terminal, but parking is free and the trails easier to access from the cul-de-sac at the end of Edwards Way. The cul-de-sac separates the Ship Harbor and Guemes Channel Trails.
The Ship Harbor Trail, between the ferry terminal and the cul-de-sac, is flat and unpaved. Part of the trail is boardwalk. The trail is narrow and not open to bicycles. The Guemes Channel Trail is paved, wide and open to cyclists. Both offer sweeping views and beach access.
“The trail is pretty, right now,” says Anacortes Parks and Recreation director Gary Robinson, “but we’d like it to be longer.”
The plan is for the trail to eventually stretch from Washington Park to the east to downtown Anacortes where the trail would link with the 5-mile Tommy Thompson Trail. Robinson says trail proponents hope to have the 9.25-mile trail project done within five years.
DIRECTIONS: Follow state Route 20 into Anacortes and continue on the highway following the signs toward the ferry terminal. Once you pass Anacopper Road (on the left), continue half a mile to Glasgow Way. Turn right then turn left on Edwards Way. Follow Edwards to the trailhead cul-de-sac.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 3.
ELEVATION GAIN: Minimal.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
MAP: A map is available on the trail website, guemeschanneltrail.com.
ALSO: The completed Tommy Thompson Trail crosses Fidalgo Bay and trail backers hope it will eventually link to other trails, Robinson said. The next section of the Guemes Channel Trail likely to be constructed will be between the Edwards Way cul-de-sac and the ferry terminal, Robinson said. There are several miles of additional hiking trails in Washington Park. There is ample parking near the ferry terminal, but there is a fee at most lots ($10 per day in the large lot above the ferry terminal). Dogs are allowed on the trails, but they must be on leashes. Several geocaches are hidden along the trails.