Turtleback Mountain Trail

OutAndBack • 3 mi • 830 ft

It’s a shell of a nice view from Orcas Island’s Turtleback Mountain. From an open knoll on the turtle’s “head” known as Ship Peak, set your sights asail to a magnificent maritime mélange of islands, harbors, headlands, and water-plying vessels. Recently spared from subdivision, the 1578-acre Turtleback Mountain Preserve promises to be one of the San Juan Islands’ prime hiking destinations.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: West Sound
Length: 3 total miles
Elevation Gain: 830 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 10 feet
Top Elevation: 930 feet
Other Uses: Kid-friendly, Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: San Juan County Land Bank
Local Maps: USGS Eastsound
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Recent Trail Reviews


Great Hike! We were told to go from the south trailhead to the north one. Great advice. Wonderful views and pleasant hike from the south side. After a little over three miles you arrive at Ship's Peak. Excellent views from there, but there are excellent lookout points at several places on the way to the Peak. Much of the "trail" is composed of old logging roads, so the hike is very easy. From Ship's Peak to the north trailhead is okay, but not as scenic. I would NOT go from the north trailhead south. The hike from the north trailhead to the loop is just a logging/access road, that is fairly steep and not that exciting. The best way to do the hike would be to have two cars, dropping one at the north trailhead and then starting from the south, hike from south to north, then drive back to the south trailhead. My GPS showed the hike to be about 6.75 miles from south trailhead to the north one. Figure 3.5 hours, moderate.

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