San Juan Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands. It has rolling terrain where forested hills stretch all the way down to the coast. Small farms and homesteads fill in the gaps with a patchwork of fertile fields.
The Island was the site of the last confrontation between the United States and Britain (the Pig War) and you get a great sense of this history when you visit American Camp in the south and English Camp in the north.
For more more days of riding, you will add days from our Orcas Island bike tours.
Southern San Juan Island Cycling Loop
On this loop ride you first head down to American Camp and the southernmost tip of San Juan Island known as Cattle Point. The ride continues west to False Bay and on to Lime Kiln State Park – the nation’s only whale watching park with its iconic lighthouse and old lime kilns. It’s just a short detour off the route to a lavender farm – in full purple bloom during the summer months.
Northern San Juan Island Cycling Loop
This ride explores the northern part of San Juan Island. We guide you onto the rolling back roads – such as Egg Lake Road – up to Roche Harbor. This sheltered cove has been a haven for sailors for over 150 years. There are several waterfront restaurants; ideal for a leisurely lunch in the sunshine.
After lunch you go on to explore British Camp (the site used by the British troops during the joint military occupation of the Island in 1859). From here it’s a meandering loop back to Friday Harbor along the west coast. In places you’re less than 3 miles from the Canadian border, and the snowcapped mountains of Vancouver Island frame the western horizon.
Visiting Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor is the main town for all the islands. The town is quaint and well preserved yet has several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. The whale Museum makes for a good visit or just relax with an early evening drink overlooking the comings and goings at the harbor. There are many great places to eat. As you’d expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.
The best months for a biking vacation in the San Juan Islands are from May through September, when the temperatures are pleasantly warm and the risk of rainfall much lower. Spring and fall are still great for bicycle touring vacations, but you need to be prepared for gentle rain and lower temperatures. We do not recommend cycling here in winter.