Several years ago, Orcas Island residents opposed plans to develop Turtleback Mountain, once privately owned by Norton Clapp of the Weyerhauser Corporation, and sold to a foundation. They filed a lawsuit in court and won. The mountain is now an island preserve. Additional trails beyond the logging roads have been developed in the park, with one connecting the north and south trailheads, almost 6.5 miles along.
We took the south trail that led to magnificent views of the western half of Orcas Island and the Canadian Gulf islands. The trail eventually veers off the ridge and into the forested area. The temperature was ideal for hiking, in the lows 70s, and perfect for a picnic lunch overlooking the waters to the west.
There are plans to add more hiking trails. The trails are only open to foot traffic and are for day-use only.