Cypress Head Trail
San Juan County
Every day Seasonal
The Cypress Head Trail connects Cypress Head with the rest of the extensive trail system of Cypress Island. For campers it provides a hiking option to explore Cypress Island features. For hikers having a boat shuttle, it allows for drop-offs at Pelican Beach or Eagle Harbor with all day hiking ending with the downhill trip to Cypress Head for the arranged boat pick-up. Despite the presence of a seasonal campground, there is no drinking water available at this site so be sure to pack enough for your entire outing.
The trail climbs steeply up the forested eastern slope of Cypress Island. Soon after leaving the beach a short trail-side boot track may entice you for a backward look down on Cypress Head, but be extremely careful. There are no official viewpoints and no protection is provided to prevent falling from the high cliff. Continuing upward the trail eventually traverses private property. There are several direct crossings of old roadways in this area. The trail should not be difficult to follow but pay careful attention at these crossings and be respectful of private property by staying on the official trail. The trail continues through dark maturing forest sprinkled with mushrooms and delicate flowers of small shade tolerant plants. Along the way a short and unexpected stairway of rocks provides more questions than answers. A rougher section of trail twists and turns, seemingly for no reason; it actually avoids cliff bands and steep drop-offs hidden in the forest. While pleasantly wild, be careful of your footing in this area.
After a mile and a half of climbing a major trail intersection is reached. From here your choices are simple, up or down. To the left, a third of a mile further uphill will bring you to the recently planted Airfield Forest. To the right, the trail takes nearly a mile to descend to Reed Lake (see articles this website). Reversing your route, the forest takes on a different appearance; your view of the steep slope below you is more expansive. Approaching Cypress Head, faint but tantalizing views appear though the densely growing trees. Dropping down the last section of trail, the sudden appearance of beach and boats are a welcomed sight.
The trailhead and accessible restrooms are located on the main island side of the tombolo at Cypress Head (see article this website). The trail terminates at an upland junction with trail connections to the Airfield Forest and Reed Lake.
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San Juan Islands