It could be said that our Earth laughs in wildflowers. Nowhere is this more true than in April and May on San Juan Island. Meadows, mountains, forest floors and prairies are abloom with Fairy Slippers, Fawn Lilies, Blue Camas, Indian Paintbrush, Buttercups and more, much more. You can’t pick or replant them, they won’t keep. You just have to be there, in the moment, and enjoy their sweet smells and the way they sway with the wind. There are daffodil fields that some lovely soul planted on the prairie of American Camp and the meadows of English Camp. And wherever you go, you’ll find fresh flower stands on the roadsides, ready to adorn your hotel room or your home. Come on up and savor this precious time of the year with one of our favorite wildflower hikes on San Juan Island.
- Mount Finlayson
Park at Jakles Lagoon and walk into the forest. Follow the signs to Mount Finlayson and emerge, after a short steep stretch, into the grassland, surrounded by rugged Wolf trees with views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Observe Bald Eagles and foxes while hiking through knee-high prairie grass and a carpet of wildflowers on this 3.50-mile loop back to your car.
- Mount Young
Situated above English Camp National Historic Park, this gratifying 3-mile backtracking hike will reward with astonishing views of all the other islands on top. Watch for hawks, owls and ospreys as you meander through Fawn Lilies and Fairy Slippers.
- Mount Grant
About 5 miles out of Friday Harbor on Beaverton Valley Road find the Mount Grant Preserve, San Juan Island’s highest, publicly accessible mountain. Hike the easy one-mile-roundtrip through old-growth Douglas Firs, identify the wildflowers along the trail and enjoy a 360-degree view of three of Washington’s five volcanoes: Mount Baker, Mount Rainier & Glacier Peak, as well as the fertile valleys of San Juan Island, the Gulf Islands, the Olympics and the Cascades. Watch eagles and hawks playfully riding the thermals above and below you.
- Sculpture Park
San Juan Island’s renowned sculpture park on Westcott Bay features five trails winding through blooming fields, around a natural lake, the woods and beachfront dotted with over 150 sculptures, poems and interactive displays. Find a sculpted bench in the shade, watch for blue herons on the lake and be inspired.
- Spring Street International School Outdoor Classroom
Friday Harbor’s multicultural, independent, day and boarding school has an outdoor classroom about a mile north of Lime Kiln State Park on Westside Road. Park at the Landbank trailhead and walk this easy 1 mile loop around a wetland. If you find the classroom empty, have a look, observe birds and relish the wildflowers.