Turtlehead Preserve Now Accessible Through Turtleback Mountain Preserve

On Saturday, August 24, about two dozen supporters gathered to help celebrate the connection of Turtleback Mountain Preserve to Turtlehead Preserve with the completion of a new trail. The project was made possible through the San Juan Preservation Trust’s acquisition of an adjoining 111-acre property (the “neck” in the iconic turtle-shaped ridgeline) which had separated the two preserves.

Following the ribbon-cutting, guests made the inaugural hike to Turtlehead Preserve and its unsurpassed views of San Juan and Canadian islands.

Visit the Preservation Trust’s Facebook page for a photo album of the event.


Hikers may access the new trail from the North Trailhead of Turtleback Mountain Preserve (off Crow Valley Road, next to the historic schoolhouse). A hike of 1.5 miles takes visitors to the Waldron Overlook, where the new trail begins. Another 1.2 miles of hiking with moderate elevation gain terminates at Turtlehead Preserve, with its stunning wildflowers and native grasslands. Hikers are requested to stay on the trail to minimize impact to the area. The new trail is strictly for pedestrian use; no bikes or horses are allowed.

The Campaign to Complete Turtleback is $55,000 away from reaching its goal of $1.15 million, which includes the $1.0 million purchase price and $115,000 for transaction and trail building costs. Support has come from the San Juan Preservation Trust’s acquisition funds, lead gifts from five Orcas Island families, and 202 additional donors. A “Cap Turtleback” initiative was created to inspire broad-based community participation in the campaign, and every donor of $50 or more will receive a Turtleback baseball cap.