Roche Harbor Trails

The Roche Harbor Trails are for non-motorized use with many sections open to multiple use recreation. There are over nine (9) miles of connected trails with loops through open pastures and northwest forests of varying age, through wildlife habitat including a large wetland with a viewing station, through numerous stands of graceful madrona trees and large Douglas firs and even one loop through pond-filled quarries that served the restored 19th Century lime kilns -- a historic feature of the Village. Water views include those of Roche Harbor, Westcott Bay, and Pearl Island. The southern trailhead links to a public trail connecting with English Camp at the San Juan Island National Historic Park. Over 20 miles of trail are within the National Historic Park and adjacent forest lands open to the public for non-motorized trail use.

photo: Trailhead sign and website map Type: Equestrian Trail, Fitness Trail, Mountain Bike Trail, Nature Trail
Length: 9.10 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Allowed Uses: Bicycling (on pavement)
Bicycling (off pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Agency: Private
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

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Directions

Location: Roche Harbor Trails are located in the properties of the Roche Harbor Resort and Roche Harbor Village on the northwest corner of San Juan Island, Washington State.

States: Washington
Counties: San Juan County
Latitude: 48.59785   Longitude: -123.13196

The trails are accessible from numerous parking areas and trailheads in the Roche Harbor Village, along Roche Harbor Rd., from the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park, or from Rouleau Rd. All trailheads are 10-12 miles by road from the Washington State ferry terminal in Friday Harbor. Many are near to the Roche Harbor Airport with two near the Roche Harbor Marina.

Description

For over 15 years Roche Harbor Resort has highlighted and improved its trails for public use on over 800 acres of land of historical and aesthetic significance to San Juan Island. Roche Harbor Resort, a private business, has designed and paid for improvements to the trails for the use by its customers, for the many visitors enjoying the historic lime kilns and adjoining village attractions and for local residents in the village area as well as the entire island. Hundreds of people use the trail system every month. The busiest sections in or near the Village are paved. Most sections provide at least a six-foot wide groomed footpath. Trail loops parallel to the major boundaries are the widest; those loops through woods tend to be narrower. Volunteers with the local Trails Committee of the San Juan Island Park and Recreation District as well as some paid staff of the Resort maintain the trail with hundreds of volunteer hours of labor per year. All trails are accurately signed with maps available in several locations and on-line at www.sanjuanislandtrails.org. (A digital PDF version of the map is included with this application, although the trail sections within the Village core are not shown on this map.)

The Roche Harbor Trails connect to numerous destinations of significance including the San Juan Island National Historic Park at English Camp, the Roche Harbor Mausoleum, the San Juan Island Sculpture Park and Nature Preserve, the historic and beautiful lime quarries, the restored lime kilns at the heart of the Village, the Roche Harbor Marina and docks with scores of boats and the adjoining 129 year old hotel, Hotel DeHaro, and the formal gardens highlighting the Village center. Many walkers consider the location especially attractive with such a variety of destinations, all available without using an auto.

But it is the natural beauty and wildlife (deer, raccoon, fox, innumerable bird species such as eagles, ravens, herons, hummingbirds, ducks, loons, cormorants, seagulls, etc.,) that make the trails truly alluring. The views are varied and big across bays toward Vancouver Island in Canada, others stretch across meadows and over pastures with grazing sheep. Trails loop through Northwest forests of Douglas fir, madrona, hemlock, willow, and alder with trunks embedded in lush undergrowth of fern, berry vines, Oregon grape, salal and deep moss. One loop is on bare rock around the quarry amidst sculpted trees growing in the cracks of the limestone. ADA access is provided throughout the village area and even jogging moms with running strollers can use some of the trail sections reaching out from the Village hub.

Since the village property was one of the first industrial sites on San Juan Island with adjoining forests logged for kiln fuel, evolution of the trails started well over a hundred years ago when a hotel and gardens were built to entertain guests of the owner including many dignitaries of the late 19th Century (including President T. Roosevelt.) Starting in the 1950’s the business focus switched from lime production to tourism so the old logging roads provided natural pathways. Since then the Resort has steadily developed the trails with a great deal of emphasis on connecting local attractions while maintaining the natural character and beauty on the varied topography and vegetation of the property. The owners have steadfastly demonstrated that public access to the trail for all persons is a core value especially in the last 15 years with their significant investment in upgrading the trails to satisfy modern trail standards. All trails are in compliance with all land use and environmental laws, and the owners have agreed to keep the trails open to the public for at least another 10 years -- see the attached letter from Roche Harbor Resort.

Roche Harbor Trails are now an integral part of Roche Harbor Village and San Juan Island, hence the special status of Roche Harbor Resort as a long-term and valued partner to the Trails Committee of the San Juan Island Park and Recreation District and the scores of volunteers who help maintain and improve these trails.

Additional Details

Width: 60 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil, Compacted
Secondary Surface: Asphalt
Boardwalk
Bricks
Concrete
Crushed Rock
Grass or Vegetation
Gravel
Puncheon
Wood chips

Average Grade: 3%
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: 225
Year Designated: 2016

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Brent Snow
General Manager
Roche Harbor Limited Liability Corporation
PO Box 4001
Roche Harbor , WA 98250
(360) 378-2155
bsnow@rocheharbor.com

 

Photos

East boundary trail.

East boundary trail.

Woodland trail near SE corner

Woodland trail near SE corner

 

Trail sign in woods by giant anthill

Trail sign in woods by giant anthill

East-West connector trail (old logging road)

East-West connector trail (old logging road)

 

East parking lot trailhead sign.

East parking lot trailhead sign.

SW trailhead and puncheon across winter wetland

SW trailhead and puncheon across winter wetland

 

Puncheon closeup - built and maintained by volunteers.

Puncheon closeup - built and maintained by volunteers.

Woodland trail sign by SW corner.

Woodland trail sign by SW corner.

 

South trail through salal and alder.

South trail through salal and alder.

Trailhead from west parking area

Trailhead from west parking area

 

View of Westcott Bay from trailhead

View of Westcott Bay from trailhead

Paved section of trail leading out of Village

Paved section of trail leading out of Village

 

Limestone quarry pathway near main entrance

Limestone quarry pathway near main entrance

Quarry historic sign by main entrance to quarry

Quarry historic sign by main entrance to quarry

 

Quarry trail-steeper section.

Quarry trail-steeper section.

Closeup of Quarry sign.

Closeup of Quarry sign.

 

Quarry trail

Quarry trail

Quarry trail highlights.

Quarry trail highlights.

 

Quarry rock face above trail

Quarry rock face above trail

Quarry pond by trail

Quarry pond by trail

 

Quarry trail to the top.

Quarry trail to the top.

Woods trail on old logging road.

Woods trail on old logging road.

 

Woodland trail.

Woodland trail.

Interior trail near middle of property.

Interior trail near middle of property.

 

Windmill on Roche Harbor property by trail

Windmill on Roche Harbor property by trail

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