Turtleback Mountain Preserve

San Juan Islands

Saved from possible development when it was bought for $18.5 million as public land in 2007, Orcas' second mountain (rising to 1519ft) was in private hands for so long that most people had forgotten what was there. The answer: fragile wetlands, Garry oak savanna, spectacular overlooks, wild orchids and acres of solitude. It now has trails open to hikers (daily) and cyclists/horseback riders (alternate days).

There are two trailheads; one is on Crow Valley Rd, while the other (best) one is Wild Rose Lane near Deer Harbor, which has a steep 1.3-mile trail that leads to Ship's Peak and a view that rivals the one from Mt Constitution.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Juan Islands attractions

1. Orcas Island Historical Museum


Housed in a series of six original homesteader cabins dating from the 1880s, this island museum relates the pioneer and local history of Orcas and the San…

2. Moran Museum

4.39 MILES

Set in the Rosario Resort & Spa, these rooms around the hotel's lobby tell the life and times of former Seattle mayor, shipbuilder and groundbreaking…

3. Moran State Park

6.24 MILES

In 1911 Robert Moran donated 7 sq miles of his property to create this park on the eastern saddlebag of Orcas Island. The park is dominated by 2409ft Mt…

7. Turn Island State Park

9.11 MILES

Turn Island is a hit with beach campers and especially kayakers. The marine park is part of the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

8. Whale Museum

9.24 MILES

If you have time for only one sight, visit the excellent Whale Museum, a small but cleverly arranged space dedicated to the life of the orca (killer whale…