Over the weekend of May 19th through 20th I did a girls weekend on Orcas Island with some hiking buddies. Our goal was to hike Mount Constitution.
We took the ferry from Anacortes (make ferry reservations early) with the intention of hiking Mt. Constitution on Saturday, then possibly doing another hike on Sunday before returning home. After our ferry crossing, lunch, and trying to rally the troops, we arrived at the trail a little too late to do the hike. We opted for a nice easy hike around Mountain Lake instead. This lake would have been very nice for swimming, which I will remember if I return. I think the loop around the lake was about 4 miles, and it was rolling up and down but not too much elevation gain. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.
Since we didn’t have enough time to hike up Mt. Constitution we drove up it to catch the view…and returned the next day to hike it. We were uncertain if it would be cloudy in the morning, so we took the opportunity while we had it.
For lodging we stayed at the Golden Tree Hostel located in the East sound area of Orcas Island. It was very charming. The artwork and tchotchkes reminded me of my mom and dad and their funky style. We booked a dorm room with 7 beds, but they also have private rooms. In addition, they have a geodome you can stay in, teepees, tent sites and a bus. One thing to make note of is everything in town closes early, so if you want to go to the grocery store or get a bite to eat, do it early. If staying in the hostel, I recommend packing food to bring with you and cook it there. The hostel was walking distance to town and it was affordable.
The next morning we returned to the Mount Constitution trail and set out to hike the loop trail that went up near the road and came back down via the twin lakes trail. This is about a 6.7 mile hike with 1500 feet elevation gain. The trail starts near the campground by Mountain Lake. It climbs steeply at first and almost feels relentless. Once you get to Little Summit the grade eases a bit and you start seeing views of the San Juans and Puget Sound. We ended up having another nice view from the top even though it was partly cloudy.
On the trail up we saw very few people. On the other side of the loop there were more people coming up. I am not sure if this is just a more popular trail or if it had to do with ferry times and people making their way to the island. We made a quick stop at twin lakes before heading back to the trailhead at Mountain Lake.
We caught the afternoon ferry back to Seattle which was also a very nice ride. Don’t forget when booking your ferry to make it a round trip fare.