Washington Park to Friday Harbor

A classic one-way trip representing a serious test of paddling skills, navigation, tide and current planning, weather prediction and risk assessment.

launch point

  • Washington Park, Anacortes

on the water

From the launch at Washington Park, the route crosses Rosario Strait towards Bird Rocks.  This is a crossing of the Rosario vessel traffic lane.  Communication with or at least monitoring of VTS is essential to stay clear of shipping.  From Bird Rocks the route heads South south east towards Kellett Ledge and Watmough Bay.  There is often a tide rip and standing waves at Kellett Ledge.  From there the classic route proceeds around the south end of Lopez Island with shelter and rest points in a series of small bays.  At Iceberg Point on the southwest end of Lopez enter Cattle Pass, or potentially take a break rounding the point to look for one of the small beaches on the north side of the point.  Typically the trip is done with a morning ebb and afternoon flood so that Cattle Pass is flooding when one arrives.  From Iceberg Point ride the current to Turn Island and on into Friday Harbor.  Rosario Strait and Cattle Pass both have the potential to be very rough.  A swell coming from the southwest will produce breaking waves along the south end of Lopez.  The traditional return trip uses wheels to roll onto the ferry to return to Anacortes, where cars may be spotted so that vehicles left at Washington Park can be retrieved.  


  • Extend your trip by camping at Turn Island State Park.
  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV
  • Length: 22.0 nm
  • Land Manager: Land Manager TBD
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Default Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • MapTech The San Juan Islands No. 104
  • NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423
  • Red Marker
    48.499716, -122.692008
    48.4997157637 -122.692008
  • Red Marker
    48.535204, -123.014034
    48.5352039635 -123.014034295

Upcoming Activities

Pre-Trip Skills Practice - Washington Park to Friday Harbor

Sea Kayaking Clinic
Training Trip for the Quatsino to Tofino expedition
Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV
Sat, May 26, 2018
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closes May 24
Tacoma Branch

Sea Kayak - Washington Park to Friday Harbor

Sea Kayaking Trip
Play time in the fast currents of Cattle Pass!
Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV
Sat, Aug 11, 2018
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants
Registration closes Aug 8
Olympia Branch
Trip Reports

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