Mount Pickett on Orcas Island of San Juan Islands / 皮凱特山

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Mount Pickett is the second tallest peak on Orcas Island after Mount Constitution. The island itself is the largest landmass of the island chain just south of the Canadian border. At the same time, the land boasts the nickname “Gem of the San Juan Islands.”

Mount Pickett in the mist
Mount Pickett in the mist

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Mount Pickett at a Glance

Access: Twin Lakes Trailhead
Round Trip: 6.8 miles
Elevation Range: 920′-1765′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Getting to Orcas Island

It’s another rainy weekend. So we would either go back to Eastern Washington. Or up to the rain shadow by the ocean. I tossed around several options, and I settled on Mount Pickett. Puget Sound islands had a lower rate of rainfall after 10 AM.

We took the ferry from Anacortes. But it was a quick, 50-minute ride to Orcas. Shortly, the boat sailed through the chain of the beautiful San Juan Islands. They included Blakely, Lopez, and Shaw Islands. There was enough time for the three of us to get in a nap in the car.

A cloudy start
A cloudy start

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Mount Pickett in Moran State Park

The island shapes like a pair of saddlebags. The Eastsound is the narrow inlet that separates the two bags. Mount Pickett is inside Moran State Park in the east saddlebag. My first time here was on a trip to Mount Constitution. Then the second time I went up to Turtleback Mountain.

I very much enjoy a place like this during the off-season. Or when the Cascades weather is questionable. So any chance to get away from the mainland is always a pleasant relief. At the same time, it’s an excellent excuse to leave behind the chaos of the city.

En route to Twin Lakes
En route to Twin Lakes

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Twin Lakes Trail

We started from the lower lot before Twin Lakes Trailhead. Then we made a clockwise loop through Mountain Lake to go up to Mount Pickett. But there is a trail that goes around the lake for a relaxing hike. But I wanted to make this trip worthwhile. So we also paid a visit through Twin Lakes farther north.

Right before getting to the north end of the lake, we met a group of hikers and their one Lab. Then, we let our pups play for a bit before walking again. Later, we reached Twin Lakes in under one mile. Water had flooded a short section of the trail by the smaller lake. So I used a down tree to cross to the other side and then continued.

Flooded trail
Flooded trail

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Mount Pickett Summit

Before we went up to the top, we met two runners with their one pup. They were making a counterclockwise loop. So I warned them about the flooded trail back by the lakes. Surprisingly, they were the only ones I saw on the mountain. I had expected to see more folks up here.

At 1765′, Mount Picket is by no means a big mass. At the same time, it sits 700′ lower than the neighboring Mount Constitution. The trail-turned-road then took us right up to the top. But the summit turned out to be broad and woodsy. So even on a clear day, I wasn’t so sure if we would have views out to Puget Sound.

Mount Pickett summit
Mount Pickett summit

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Outro

Later, we continued southbound on the main road to finish the rest of the hike. Then the path took us down to the southern shoreline of Mountain Lake. We made a photo stop at the small dam. From there, we followed the road-turned-trail to get right back to the starting point.

We got back to the ferry dock right before the boat arrived. Then we had to wait in the overflow lot since we were at the end of the line. But glad there was still room for us to make the sail!

Thanks for a rain-free day
Thanks for a rain-free day

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