San Juan County
San Juan Island
W. Valley Rd.
Every day Dawn - Dusk
This 19th Century British encampment is a rare reminder of European settlement in the Northwest. In the mid 1800s, ownership of the territory was in dispute and both American and British forces occupied sections of the San Juan Islands. In 1872, peaceful arbitration resolved the territorial issue and the British abandoned the fort.
Although both sides got along well during the joint occupancy of the islands, there was a brief period of tension known as the "Pig War", a disagreement over an English pig wreaking mayhem with the vegetables in an American garden. Fortifications were initially built out for fear of hostile natives, a threat that never materialized. Some of the structures that have been restored are the Marine Barracks, Mess Hall and a Blockhouse, which bears a remarkable resemblance to a pillbox. The bright white buildings share a large grassy field with several gigantic maple trees, possibly older than the buildings themselves. Just to get you in the mood, a Union Jack flies from a small flagpole next to the Blockhouse.
British Camp has been designated a National Historical site and is a popular destination for tourists and bikers. Although there is no overnight camping permitted here, the camp makes a great stop for a picnic lunch. Several loop trails in the vicinity take pass through the woods that surround Garrison Bay and the nearby hillsides. Also of interest is the formal British garden. Originally a vegetable garden for the Royal Marines, the garden presumably offered the officer’s wives a pleasant reminder of life back home. The garden has been maintained much in the same way it was at the time of British occupation, modeled after historic photographs of the fort.
Take Beaverton Valley Road out of Friday Harbor to West Valley Road, which will take you straight to the Park.
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San Juan Islands