Scenic Lopez Island Lives Up to the Cycling Hype

South End
A family rides on the south end of Lopez Island.

I was dubious about the riding on Lopez Island before I visited.

Not anymore. I spent two excellent days riding on Lopez and its rep as the best place to ride in the San Juan Islands of Washington state is well-deserved. With rolling terrain and rural roads, Lopez is made for exploring by bike.

I wasn’t the only one doing the riding. I arrived at the 9:30 a.m. ferry from Anacortes and got in line with about 20 other cyclists. Most were doing day trips on the island and planning to return on a later ferry.

I was camping. After docking, I rode the five miles to Spencer Spit is a great park, with an pretty beach to explore and many walking trails. Once I got my bearings, I hit the road for a 20-mile ride to the Lopez Village and a loop around the west side of the island.

Eagles soared, harbors looked quaint, farmers bailed hay. Very little auto traffic intruded on the lovely scene.

The beach along MacKaye Harbor on the south end of Lopez Island.

The next day, I went to the southern end of the island for a lovely 26-miler. More of the same: I topped rolling hills, saw small island farms and picturesque harbors.


Long stretches went by when I saw no cars at all, only deer, forests, farms and other cyclists. At one point, I stopped to snap a picture. A friendly islander out for a walk stopped and said, “Oh, look up there — it’s the baby!”

She pointed out a nest high in a Douglas fur tree where a fledgling eagle tested its wings.
“Cool,” I said.

We parted and I headed back to Spencer Spit, flying along in the good vibes of Lopez Island.

Camping at Spencer Spit State Park.
Lopez BikeShot
The view from Vista Road on Lopez Island.

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