Stuart Island, San Juan Islands

On this remote island, Austin Morris finds an ideal anchorage, a scenic hike and rural charm.

Stuart Island San Juan Islands

Austin Morris

Stuart Island, the westernmost of the San Juan Islands, is located at the intersection of Haro Strait and Boundary Pass, the waters separating the United States from Canada.

Prevost Harbor, on Stuart Island’s north coast, is an ideal anchorage, providing shelter from the weather and traffic. A magnificent display of evergreens runs all the way down to the rocky demarcation with the water. Ashore, you can take a three-mile hike from the anchorage to the lighthouse on the western end of the island.

A single dirt road leads westward from the public dock. We walked by horses grazing in a golden meadow, then continued on to the lighthouse at Turn Point and a magnificent view of the seaways and ripping tides. Posted nearby was a scoreboard of orca sightings to which visitors could add their encounters. Unfortunately, on that lovely afternoon, the whales hadn’t scheduled any shows.

On our return walk, we once again engaged civilization, discovering a bureau-like box along the road. It contained a large number of logoed T-shirts and a note to passersby to pick the one they want and mail payment with the addressed envelope. Nice to know that trust still exists somewhere in the world.

Austin Morris is from Redding, California.