Obstruction Pass State Park
Hike description: The trip to and from Obstruction Pass from the trailhead would take less than 30 minutes at a brisk pace, but most take much longer to explore this peaceful part of Orcas Island. Some even take a day or two.
Near the start of the trail, you’ll see a junction with three options. Choose the Sound View or Highlands routes and plan on returning via the other. The Highlands route skirts the park boundary as it takes a gently serpentine path through the woods. In a mile you’ll arrive at the water and the intersection with the more direct route.
At the water’s edge, you’ll find spots for camping and a staircase leading to the beach. While some overnight visitors arrive on foot, others come by boat. Obstruction Pass is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail, a network of camps and parks for Puget Sound paddlers. Moorage buoys also are available.
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After enjoying the beach, follow the short path west to a scenic spot on East Sound known as Picnic Rock. As the name suggests, this is the perfect place to stop for lunch. There is no potable water, so bring your own.
When you are ready to return, find the direct route north starting from the camping area. After about 1/3 mile, head left on Sound View Trail for more views and another picnic spot.
Directions: Take the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island, then head north on Orcas Road for about 8 miles. Turn right on Main Street and drive 1.2 miles, continuing east as the road becomes Crescent Beach Drive. Turn right on Olga Road and drive 6.5 miles, passing through Moran State Park, to Point Lawrence Road. Turn left and continue half a mile to the intersection with Obstruction Pass Road. Veer right and after about a mile continue straight on Trailhead Road (Merrymac Lane on some maps). In less than a mile, this road will deposit you at the trailhead.
Difficulty rating: 2 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 2.
Elevation gain: 200 feet.
Best time of the year: Year-round.
Map: A map can be downloaded on the park website.
Pass: Washington State Discover Pass.
Also: Check the state ferry schedule at wsdot.com/ferries for sailing times and rates. Brown Bear Baking in Eastsound is an ideal spot for the 11th essential, pastries. Lodging information is available at visitsanjuans.com. Outhouses are available at the trailhead and the parking lot. For more hiking, Moran State Park is nearby with 30 miles of trails and several ways to reach the highest point on the island, Mount Constitution. On the island’s west side, Turtle Mountain Preserve offers some scenic trails. Dogs on leashes are permitted, but must be cleaned up after. There are geocaches in the area, according to geocaching.com.