Young Hill via English Camp + Mount Grant on San Juan Island / 楊山丘

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Young Hill and Mount Grant sit in the northwest corner of San Juan Island. English Camp, the northern unit of San Juan Island National Historical Park, harbors the former. Then the latter is part of the Mount Grant Preserve.

Young Hill west view to Haro Strait
Young Hill west view to Haro Strait

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Young Hill and Mount Grant at a Glance

Access: English Camp (trail map) / Mount Grant Preserve (trail map)
Round Trip: 6.7 miles
Elevation Range: 20′-736′
Gear: none
Route Info: Walter Blume
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

So far, we’ve visited the San Juan Islands since 2018 in the rainy season. The islands are a lovely retreat from the daily grind. But it was only our second time here, where we last visited Mount Finlayson on the south end.

The pups and I left the house early to make the 5 AM ferry out of Anacortes. We reached Friday Harbor past six and drove to English Camp in the island’s northwest corner soon after. Then we started walking at 6:45 AM.

Roadside attraction
Young Hill Trailhead

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Young Hill Walk

Besides avoiding crowds, I wanted to beat the bad weather past noon. I also had planned to check out Mount Grant, so it was a good idea to start early. But most island visitors hang out by the landing anyway.

From the lot, it’s only a one-mile walk over a few switchbacks. En route, we walked across West Valley Road and re-entered the forest soon after. Then it was a quick stroll past the English Camp Cemetery up to the lookout area.

Young Hill viewpoint
Young Hill viewpoint

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Young Hill Summit Views

The summit boasted open views of Haro Strait and the Olympic Mountains. There wasn’t much to see on the forested north. But the map showed a trail going down that side to the edge of the historical park boundary.

We dodged the wind south of the viewpoint and stayed past sunrise. After seeing a car pulling up while crossing the road earlier, I thought I’d see others here. But other than the breeze, it was dead quiet and pleasant.

Olympic Mountains
Olympic Mountains

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English Camp

After only two miles of hiking, we needed more exercise. So a brief pause back at the car, we went across the parking lot down to Bell Point. It’s also the location of the historic blockhouse inside English Camp.

We checked out the old buildings and went onto Bell Point Trail. Then we walked north and east around Garrison Bay before returning to the parking lot. A couple and their dog we met en route went the opposite way.

English Camp
English Camp

See more trip photos here.

Next Stop, Mount Grant Preserve

We drove south and reached Mount Grant Preserve entrance in five minutes. Shortly, we walked through the gate on the pavement to the fork and turned left. Then we made our way south on Greywacke Trail.

We took the left trail at the second fork to make the hike aerobically effective. Then we stayed on the outer path to the south ridge over a few viewpoints. Soon, we zigzagged our way up through the open forest to the flat top.

Trailside view of Mount Dallas
Trailside view of Mount Dallas

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Mount Grant Summit Views

Even with trees around the summit, the peak boasted a near-360-degree view. We could look to the east past the San Juan Channel. Then Canada was just on the other side of Haro Strait to the west.

A family of five came up a short while later, and I chatted with two of them for a while. After staying over an hour, we made a loop and exited on the main road. Despite the sun, the wind chill on top was uncomfortable.

Haro Strait
Haro Strait

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Outro

We woke up at 2:30 this morning to prepare for the trip and didn’t get much sleep. It was only noon when we went back to the parking lot. The next ferry wasn’t until four hours later, so we drove out to the dock and napped.

It was perhaps the most people I’d seen of the landings. The afternoon turned out sunny even though the forecast said otherwise. The dogs later slept while I watched the rest of Terminator 3 en route back to Anacortes.

Leaving Friday Harbor
Leaving Friday Harbor

See more trip photos here.

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