Orcas What Is Known For


Doe Bay, at the southeast tip of the island, is a wonderful spot to launch a kayak for a shoreline tour: Look one way and you'll spot seals and starfish, eagles and deer, and look the other for a view stretching across Rosario Strait to the Cascade Mountains of the mainland. The bonus? After the paddle, you can warm up with a dip in the clothing-optional outdoor hot tubs at the free-spirited Doe Bay resort.


More than 30 miles of trails lace Moran State Park, winding through some old growth forest and past several lakes (hike to Twin Lakes for backcountry swimming). Several of the trails start about half- way up the 2,409-foot summit of Mount Constitution, including a local favorite, the Cascade Creek Trail. This quarter-mile jaunt leads to a waterfall that (depending on which account you believe) drops 40, or 70, or 100 feet into a pool.


Orcas has more up-and-down terrain than sister isle Lopez (a favorite with bike tours) but great rides for those willing to pedal a little harder. Start from Orcas Landing (wait until the all the cars are off and on their way, then head to West Sound. There, head west on Deer Harbor Road, one of the prettiest in these islands, six miles or so to the Deer Harbor Resort, where the road ends with a view of the tiny Wasp Islands.