Mount Finlayson + Cattle Point on San Juan Island / 芬利森山

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Mount Finlayson by Cattle Point sits on the south end of San Juan Island. The island is the second-largest of the San Juan Islands. The nearby public hills include Young Hill to the north, plus Lopez Hill on Lopez Island.

Mount Finlayson summit
Mount Finlayson summit

See more trip photos here.

Mount Finlayson at a Glance

Access: Jakle’s Lagoon Trailhead
Round Trip: 5.2 miles
Elevation Range: 100′-295′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Ferry Ride to Friday Harbor

After enjoying a sunny day in the mountains, we finished the Thanksgiving streak with our fourth and final trip today. The 8:30 AM ferry from Anacortes was half-empty as we sailed 1.5 hours through the islands to Friday Harbor. I quickly took photos from the passenger deck before catching up on some sleep in the car.

So far, I have only been to Orcas Island of the San Juan Islands lineup. I’ve visited it twice, with the first time a decade ago while on a weekend date. Then last year, the yellow pup and I hiked on Turtleback Mountain.

Window seat
Window seat

See more trip photos here.

First Stop, Mount Finlayson

Calling Mount Finlayson a mountain was a bit generous. It was only one mile from the parking lot and a 200′ altitude gain to the top of the hill. En route were several people with their dogs as we went counterclockwise through a few places.

The forested trail ran alongside Cattle Point Road but felt serene despite the closeness and many cars. We enjoyed Puget Sound‘s expansive view to the south as we walked up the hillside. But it was too hazy to see anything past the water.

Sea view on Mount Finlayson
Sea view on Mount Finlayson

See more trip photos here.

Mount Finlayson Summit and Onward

We rested on top before continuing east to the Cattle Point Lighthouse overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Several spur trails offered opportunities to explore the tiny mountain. And with the signage throughout, it was impossible to lose our way.

The trail crossed Cattle Point Road to the lighthouse on the south side. The flaw with this design was worrying about cars speeding down the hill. Soon, we looped through the reservation to the southeast before returning to the road.

Holding down the fort
Holding down the fort

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En Route to Third Lagoon

After crossing the road again to the north, we found another trailhead. This trail bordered some homes before entering the trees north of Mount Finlayson. We met two more hikers and arrived at the bay shortly after.

I hoped to see some water birds, but the beach was quiet today. I also don’t recall seeing any wildlife as we roamed the area. We stayed long enough for a few photos before continuing west.

Three-dog view by Third Lagoon
Three-dog view by Third Lagoon

See more trip photos here.

Jakle’s Lagoon Plus Exit

Behind the lagoon was a spur trail, which we followed to the west through the bluffs. Afterward, we reached the nearby Jakle’s Lagoon with north views through thin branches. Instead of going to the next bay, the route took us uphill to join the main path.

Before long, we saw another sign leading to the shore in half a mile. But instead of visiting the bay, we continued on the main path and reached the trailhead in half a mile. It was a relatively quick hike, a little over five miles.

Jakle's Lagoon
Jakle’s Lagoon

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Back to Ferry Dock and Out

We stopped by the San Juan Food Co-Op before returning to the dock on the way out. We waited in the overflow lot since the boat was almost out of space half an hour before departing. But we got on at the last minute rather than waiting two hours for the next boat.

We’ll have to come back and explore more of the island!

Exiting via Mount Finlayson
Exiting via Mount Finlayson

See more trip photos here.

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