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Obstruction Pass State Park

Puget Sound and Islands > San Juan Islands
48.6085, -122.8264 Map & Directions
1.9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
305 feet
Highest Point
225 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Coast

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Moran State Park might have mountains and lakes, but Obstruction Pass has quiet, open forest, secluded campgrounds, and the largest public beach on Orcas Island. Take a quiet walk here and soak in the peaceful shoreline. Continue reading

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Hiking Obstruction Pass State Park

Despite being just 80 acres, Obstruction Pass State Park boasts a variety of trails. It's a relatively straight shot to the camping area and beach if you take the 0.6-mile central trail (it's 1.2 miles roundtrip). Or, you can take the 0.4-mile, very faint Sound View trail, which loops along a bluff before reconnecting with the main trail to finally deposit you at the camp and shoreline from the west.

But the best way to experience the whole trail is looping the central trail with the Highlands trail, making for a 1.5-mile loop down to the water and back up through upland forest along the northeast border of the park. Plus, this way, you get to take in all the informative interpretive signage provided by the park. 

Set off from the parking area by walking through a stile. The junction greets you on the other side of the stile. Of course, it's possible to do the loop either way, but counter-clockwise gets you to the water faster, and makes for a slightly less-steep return. Choose the path straight ahead of you to do the loop this way. 

The way begins descending almost immediately, and you'll be walking through an open forest populated by Douglas-first and western redcedar, and madronas. Pause and take in the interpretive panels as you hike; they give you context and information about the area, and might help you identify the plants and geologic features unique to the islands. 

Continue descending. You'll notice the salal (a common ground cover here) getting taller, and suddenly will pop out into a campsite! There are 10 walk-in campsites available here on a first-come, first-serve basis. A surprisingly picturesque privy rounds out the scene—it's an idyllic campsite; perfect for introducing kids to backpacking. 

The trail continues through the campground and to a fence on a bluff, affording you views of Obstruction Pass itself, as well as Blakely Island across the way. Turn left, and hike along the bluff. One trail offers access to the beach, which you can head down to explore before continuing on your loop. 

Scramble up a small, somewhat exposed section of rock (the only somewhat hard-to-follow section of trail here) and look for a large brown sign with an arrow pointing into the woods. This is where you turn left and follow the trail inland. 

Now on the Highlands Trail, begin a gentle climb. Look for deer in this section, as they like to browse in this sort of landscape and the Highlands Trail is less trafficked than the main route. If you see them, keep your distance. It's best to leave wildlife be in their habitat. 

The trail mostly climbs, though there are a few dips to keep it interesting as you round the northeast corner and the trail turns left to return to the parking area. Enjoy the flat traverse here, and the final descent to the first junction, and soon after, the trailhead. 

Hike Description Written by
Anna Roth, WTA Staff

Obstruction Pass State Park

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.6085, -122.8264 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Take the Washington State ferry to Orcas Island from Anacortes (reservations required). Once at Orcas, follow Orcas Road for 8 miles to the village of Eastsound. Turn right to drive through Eastsound, or stay straight to take the truck route around town.

The two roads meet at a "T" intersection marked by a Minit Mart on Olga Road. Continue on Olga Road (turning right onto Olga Road if you went through Eastsound) for 3.6 miles and pass through the gate marking the entrance to Moran State Park entrance gate. Continue another 3 miles to a junction and turn left onto Point Lawrence Road.

After a half mile of driving, hang a right onto Obstruction Pass Road and follow it for almost a mile. Then turn right onto the hard-packed-gravel Trailhead Road and follow this road for 0.8 miles, dead ending at the parking area. There is a bathroom available here, as well as a bike rack, and room for about 20-25 cars.

More Hike Details


Puget Sound and Islands > San Juan Islands

Washington State Parks

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USGS Blakely Island

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Obstruction Pass State Park

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