United States

San Juan Islands

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run on San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in Washington, off the coast of Anacortes, ~80 miles north of Seattle. These islands are the traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples. After years of Spanish, British, Canadian, and American exploration and border dispute, the islands were officially relinquished to the US in 1872. Today, they are a popular tourist destination for hiking, kayaking, and Orca whale-watching. Ferry service operates between Anacortes, WA and Sidney, BC. and the four main islands: San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island. All of the San Juan Islands have safe and scenic running options. We’ve mapped running routes on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Island. 

San Juan Island is the largest of the islands and has the most running options, including routes from the National Historic Park, Friday Harbor, and Roche Harbor. Orcas Island is a scenic haven for hikers and trail runners as home to the Moran State Park and Turtleback Mountain Preserve. Lopez Island is the best choice for rural country roads — as long as you keep off of Center Road, almost any route is a good one!

Most visitors arrive on the islands via ferry from Anacortes, WA or Sidney, British Columbia. Once you are in the San Juans, you can travel between islands on the inter-island ferry. It’s possible to bring a car along (with a reservation), or rent a car/bike once you arrive. Depending on where you want to go, some islands are completely runnable!

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in San Juan Islands

Orcas Island

Orcas Island is the second largest San Juan island, and a popular choice among outdoor recreation enthusiasts.... more...

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Friday Harbor is one of the most popular places to stay, though there are other locations across San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez islands. Camping may be available on other islands. Check out VisitSanJuans.com for places to stay.

As far as we know, there are no running stores or group runs on the San Juan Islands.

The most popular race in the islands is the San Juan Island half marathon.