Outdoor Pleasures & Natural Wonders

Chris Stovall Lopez Landmarks

Lopez offers the easiest cycling of the three main San Juan Islands. Consider bringing your bike for a day or weekend of scenic cycling, or rent one from Lopez Bicycle Works or Village Cycles. (The interisland ferry from Orcas Island or San Juan Island is free for walk-on passengers and cyclists.) You may want to schedule your Lopez visit to coincide with one of the island’s special annual events—the Tour de Lopez bicycle tour each spring. Always scheduled for the last Saturday in April, Tour de Lopez is a non-competitive, rural road tour that offers short and long routes through the island’s varied landscape. You can also explore Lopez Island through a cycling or driving tour.

If you’re a nature lover, expect to see bald eagles and a great variety of water birds on Lopez Island, along with black-tailed deer and lots of rabbits. You may spot these on one of the island’s web of hiking trails, many near or along the shore (the same terrain that makes for somewhat easy cycling makes for plenty of opportunities for not-too-strenuous hiking). Whether you visit with family and friends or you’re in search of solitude, Lopez’s many parks (some of them well-kept secrets) fill the bill, from Agate Beach County Park with its soothing sound of waves over pebbles to the trails and bluffs of Shark Reef Sanctuary, where you’re likely to spot seals and often times sea lions. Or launch your kayak to explore the island’s inlets and paddle around the unspoiled paradise of one of the nearby National Wildlife Refuge islands (no two-footed creatures allowed) for glimpses of pigeon guillemots, double-crested and pelagic cormorants, and harbor seals.