21 Mar Mount Constitution, Orcas Island

Mount Constitution, located in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, is one of the most famous destinations in the San Juan Islands. When the weather is warm and the visibility clear, here on the highest point in the  San Juans you will find some of the most stunning views anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. From the 2409-foot summit the 360 degree view encompasses the other islands in this archipelago, plus Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Saturna Island, and the cities of Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia.

The Moran State Park access road to the summit makes this the perfect place to take out of town friends and relatives when you want show off the state of Washington and the great outdoors. The trip from Anacortes to Orcas Island passes by Lopez Island and Shaw Island, and continues on to San Juan Island and Victoria in British Columbia.  The Washington State Ferry system is one of the best and busiest in the world with modern, comfortable vessels.

From the Mount Constitution parking lot where the facilities are located follow the signs that lead to the start of a short walk to the stone observation tower.  Patterned after a medieval watch tower and designed by architect Ellsworth Storey, the tower was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. On a busy day this spot welcomes tourists from around the world and the tower will bring to mind a teeming anthill. The stone stairwell up the interior of the tower gets a little tight in places but it is worth the effort of the climb. Once you make it to the observation tower at the top, the view is magnificent.  If hiking is your thing there are several trailheads, the longest from Cascade Lake or at Mount Lake, Little Summit, or Summit Lake.

It’s difficult to really estimate how far one can see from the summit but it has to be nearly 150 miles.  On a clear day you can see both Canada and Mount Rainier which is south of Seattle, truly a remarkable sight.