Biking the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands: One of the Most Scenic Cycling Destinations on the West Coast

Biking the San Juan Islands with Discovery Adventure Tours

Located on the Pacific Coast of Washington State, just a short distance from Seattle, the San Juan Islands are a vacation hot spot for adventurers and wildlife seekers. Water-based activities such as kayaking and whale watching are very popular, but when it comes to experiencing the islands by land, biking is the method of choice!

Beautiful scenery and a relaxed atmosphere in the San Juan Islands.

While many people avoid vacationing in what is generally believed to be an exceptionally rainy and cloudy part of the world, first-time visitors are always surprised to find that San Juan Island summers tend to be sunny and mild. Temperatures are frequently in the 70s and average rainfall is a fraction of that of Seattle. In a predominantly rural environment surrounded by fresh ocean breezes, San Juan Island air quality is very high, perfect for enjoying outdoor activities such as biking and kayaking.

Only the four largest islands are serviced by the Washington State Ferry system. Orcas, San Juan, Lopez, and Shaw, are all accessible via the ferries. Of these four, only the San Juan Island ferry dock drops visitors off in the island’s main town, Friday Harbor. Occupying just one square mile, Friday Harbor is where visitors can easily walk around to find restaurants, groceries, shops, lodging, and reserve bicycles.

Exploration by bicycle is a unique way to experience the San Juan Islands.

San Juan Island is about 55 square miles, with over 50 miles of paved roads. Many of these roads are part of the National Scenic Byway. With a good blend of both hilly and mellow terrain, riders can choose loops of varying distances and challenge levels. American Camp, Cattle Point, Lime Kiln State Park, Roche Harbor, and the Lavender Farm are several of the island’s most popular attractions to reach by bike.

Orcas Island is only slightly larger than San Juan at about 57 square miles. The roads here are more challenging given the steeper topography of Orcas. Riders who choose to tackle Mount Constitution will be rewarded with spectacular views from the hights point in the island group. Popular destinations on Orcas include East Sound, Olga, Moran State Park, Doe Bay, and Deer Harbor.

With mellow hills and pastoral terrain, Lopez Island is a popular destination for cyclists. Just 30 square miles in size, the entire island can be ridden in a day. Every April, riders congregate here for the Tour De Lopez. Lopez Village, Lopez Island Vineyards, Odlin County Park, and Spencer Spit State Park are all main destinations along a Lopez Island ride.

National Geographic lists the San Juan Islands as one of the 100 best American adventure trips:

On clear days, views of Mount Baker and the Olympic Mountains rise toward the east and south. On dark summer evenings, kayaks form a stream of glowing green as they ply the bioluminescent waters. Come nightfall, guides scout a campsite on a secluded island where paddlers trade stories over a driftwood campfire and fall asleep to the sound of the gentle surf.

Choose from a selection of our popular bikes

We offer hybrid bikes, road bikes, and electric-assist bikes for rent. Let us know about your riding style and what kind of experience you’re hoping for so we can get you out the door with the perfect bike!

Looking to reach a specific destination? We can help you customize a route to make the most of your ride!

Ready for more adventure? Combine a kayak tour with your bike rental.