It's so close, you can smell it. Sharp, fresh, invigorating. The sea air permeates every scene. San Juan harbors dappled with sunlight, sailboats flitting across the deep blue Puget Sound water. Washington State Ferries, bigger and more majestic than you've imagined, sound their call, the workhorses of the waterway. Off the ferry and onto a new island. Biking the country roads, each day is an adventure. Evergreen-lined lanes give way to rural pastures, then back again. But you're never far from the water. What's around the next corner? Time to find out.
Day 1 La Conner, a charming fishing village with a relaxed country feel on the Swinomish Channel Bike through the fertile Skagit Valley, noted for its tulip and daffodil cultivation, with Mount Baker crowning the route.
Day 2 Island-hop by ferry, and pedal through stunningly diverse scenery, from conifer forests to farmlands to seaports After biking to Anacortes, set sail for hilly Orcas Island, a tapestry of rural landscapes Stop by Orcas Island Pottery, where one-of-a-kind pieces are displayed among Douglas firs and western red cedar.
Day 3 The breathtaking panorama of islands, snow-covered Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula On two wheels or two feet in Moran State Park, make your way up Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juans.
Days 4-5 Wildlife cruise with a naturalist - you may spot an orca! Spin past secluded bays and driftwood beaches Swap pedals for paddles on an optional sea-kayaking excursion near Roche Harbor, and watch for otters and soaring eagles.
Day 6 Waterfront lodging and fresh Northwest cuisine On Lopez Island - a bicyclist's paradise - ride to Shark Reef and witness the fast-moving current between Lopez and San Juan Islands.
- Island-hop by ferry, and pedal through stunningly diverse scenery, from conifer forests to farmlands to seaports
- Wildlife cruise with a naturalist - you may spot an orca!
- The breathtaking panorama of islands, snow-covered Mount Baker and the Olympic Peninsula
- La Conner, a charming fishing village with a relaxed country feel
- Waterfront lodging and fresh Northwest cuisine
Channel Lodge (1 night): A charming inn with private balconies and beautiful vistas of the boats and birdlife residing in Swinomish Channel.
Outlook Inn (2 nights): It's a short walk to the private beach and the shops and galleries of downtown from this retreat at water's edge.
Friday Harbor House (2 nights): Described by Andrew Harper as an "appealing contemporary island lodge affording exceptional views of the San Juan Channel." (spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Hiking (3, 4.5 miles)|
|San Juan Island wildlife-watching cruise (4 hours)|
|Optional kayaking in Roche Harbor|
There is less than 5% of riding on hard-packed dirt on this trip. Since the overwhelming majority of the trip is paved, we've elected to use standard road bike tires on our titanium road bikes. Most guests find this to be the right answer. If you prefer to skip the dirt, a shuttle is always a possibility.
* Includes a shuttle
2013 Dates & Pricing*
- 6/9-14 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/23-28 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/7-12 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/14-19 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/21-26 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/28-8/2 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/4-9 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/11-16 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/18-23 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/25-30 Price: $2998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/1-6 Price: $2898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/8-13 Price: $3198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/22-27 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/29-10/4 Price: $2898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $960 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Guest Trip Reviews
Backroads is the only way to travel. I love the fact that from the moment you meet your group you are on vacation and don't have to do another thing except enjoy.- Larchmont, NY
This trip was an adventure for us to a new and spectacular landscape. It was interesting to do a biking trip that also offered opportunities for hiking and sea kayaking, mixed with a number of interesting geographic and historic learning experiences. Everyone was so friendly and engaging, and we really felt that we got to know everyone well. The leaders were wonderful, as has always been the case with Backroads, but especially for first-year leaders, they were exceptional. We are so glad to have discovered the uplifting Backroads type of vacation, and we shall continue to participate in these trips as long as we are physically able to do so.- Rockville, MD
Fabulous! Great trip, great guides, good accommodations and food, and a great group of travelers too. I always love traveling with Backroads. It is hard to travel with any other company because of the fine quality that comes with the trip being run by Backroads.- Sugar Land, TX
Each island was (impossibly) more beautiful than the next. We experienced a true getaway in every sense.- San Diego, CA
Our leaders were just amazing. I wish the people that worked for me were as attuned to client/customer service as they are. They are a credit to your company.- Larchmont, NY
One of my best Backroads trips -- very relaxing and stunningly beautiful!- Brooklyn, NY
I'm very impressed with your organization and people. The logistics and research put into planning the trip were amazing. Our leaders could not have been more pleasant or accommodating. We'll be back! We had a great experience, much better than anything we could have planned on our own. Great job!- Oakland, CA
This trip had the perfect mix of activities - biking, hiking, kayaking and whale watching. Especially loved shuttling by ferry as opposed to van travel as on other trips...never can get enough of being on the water! And, yes....WE SAW WHALES!!! FABULOUS :)- Belle River, ON
I want to complement Tom Hale for having kept the vision and quality at such a high level for so long. We took our first trips with Tom back in early 80's. Coming back to Backroads after a multi-decade gap and finding it true to its roots and getting even better is phenomenal. Keep it up!- Mill Valley, CA
Excellent combination of leader skills, environment and participants. Having travelled the world the San Juan's rival the most scenic locations anywhere. Whale boat ride was absolutely beyond expectation as was the superb kayaking trip.- Danville, CA
This was my first trip with Backroads and I had a wonderful time. Beautifully organized, yet flexible and open to our varying needs.- Albuquerque, NM