Mount Finlayson on San Juan Island / 聖胡安島上的芬利森山

Yesterday we enjoyed another sunny day in the mountains. Then today, we wrapped up the Thanksgiving streak with our fourth and final trip with Mount Finlayson. While searching for a rainy shadow getaway, I came across Eric’s report. It immediately sparked my curiosity to visit the second-largest island of the San Juan Islands.

Mount Finlayson summit within minutes
Mount Finlayson summit within minutes

See more trip photos here.

Mount Finlayson at a Glance

Access: Jakles Lagoon Trailhead
Round Trip: 5.2 miles
Elevation Range: 100′-295′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available

Ferry Ride to Friday Harbor

We caught the 8:30 AM ferry from Anacortes, Washington. The half-empty boat then spent the next 1.5 hours sailing through several islands to Friday Harbor. I briefly went up to the passenger deck and took some photos. Then I took a nap to make up for the restless night.

Of the San Juan Islands lineup, we have only visited Orcas Island. I have been up there twice myself. The first time was on a weekend trip with a friend nearly ten years ago. Then last year, the yellow pup and I went and hiked on Turtleback Mountain.

Window seat
Window seat

See more trip photos here.

Mount Finlayson Our First Stop

Mount Finlayson was more of a hill than a mountain. It took only one mile plus 200′ elevation gain to get up to the summit from the parking lot. We saw a few people with their pups in the beginning. Then we made a counterclockwise loop and visited a few places along the way.

The forested trail went alongside Cattle Point Road. Despite the proximity and the number and cars on the road, it felt serene. As we hiked up the hill, to the south of us was the expansive view of the Puget Sound. But it was too hazy of a day to see anything beyond the water.

Sea view on Mount Finlayson
Sea view on Mount Finlayson

See more trip photos here.

Mount Finlayson Summit and Onward

We took our usual break at the top. Then we continued east toward the Cattle Point Lighthouse overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There were several spur trails to explore on this tiny mountain. And with plenty of signage dispersed throughout, it was nearly impossible to lose our way.

To get to the lighthouse, we first needed to cross Cattle Point Road to reach the south side. We had to pay extra attention to the cars speeding down the hill. That was the design flaw I saw with this trail system. We made a loop through the reservation to the southeast tip before heading back up to the road.

Holding down the fort
Holding down the fort

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En Route to Third Lagoon

After crossing the road for the second time back to the north side, we came upon another trailhead. This path went past a residential area before re-entering the forest along the north side of Mount Finlayson. We greeted two more hikers and then arrived at the bay shortly after.

I was hoping to see some waterfowls, but there were none. I also don’t recall hearing birds chirping either. We stayed long enough to snap a couple of photos before continuing.

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

See more trip photos here.

Jakles Lagoon Plus Outro

There’s a side trail behind the lagoon. We followed it as it took us through bluffs to the west side. Then we continued to follow it toward the adjacent Jakles Lagoon. There were views to the north through branches. Unfortunately, the pathway didn’t go all the way to the next bay. It began to go uphill and connected with the main path.

Soon, we reached another sign leading down to the bay. But I didn’t feel like hiking half a mile downhill to the water. So instead, we continued walking on the main path. We reached the trailhead in another half a mile. It was a relatively quick hike with a little over five miles.

Outro via Mount Finlayson
Outro via Mount Finlayson

See more trip photos here.

Back to Ferry Dock and Out

On the way back to the ferry terminal, we paid a visit to the San Juan Food Co-Op. Then we went back to the dock half an hour before the afternoon ferry. We had to wait in the overflow lot because the boat was nearly full. But lucky for us, we were able to get on at the last minute. Otherwise, we’d wait another two hours for the next ferryboat.

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

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