Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Orcas Island

Year protected: 2006

Land protected: 1,578 acres

Shoreline protected: 956 feet

Hiking Trails: 8.7 Miles

Trail Difficulty: Moderate

Rising dramatically from the west side of Orcas Island and visible throughout the archipelago and beyond, Turtleback Mountain offers visitors some of the most spectacular natural landscapes and scenic vistas in the San Juan Islands. An 8-mile trail network spans the turtle’s “back,” connecting the preserve’s north and south trailheads. This network also connects with an additional 1-mile trail that leads to jaw-dropping views from atop the turtle’s “head.” (See Turtlehead Preserve.)

Turtleback’s trails range from broad, gently sloping logging roads (now abandoned) to narrow paths that meander, sometimes steeply, through mixed forest and open meadows. Whether you’re up for a short dash to the North Valley Overlook (a 15-minute, moderately steep stroll from the north trailhead), a 3-mile round-trip climb to Ship Peak from the south trailhead, or an all-day exploration of the mountain’s many loops, ridges, and overlooks, Turtleback Mountain offers something to suit nearly all adventure-seekers, including kids.

“Turtleback Mount Preserve is one of the largest conservation success stories in the San Juans.” – Craig Romano, author of Day Hiking The San Juans and Gulf Islands

Access limitations: Dawn to dusk hours only; no overnight parking or camping. See trail map and preserve signage for additional restrictions.

Learn about the history of this preserve

Download Preserve Map

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Reviews of this Preserve

ProductTurtleback Mountain Preserve
1 - 5
Another fabulous hike at South Turtleback!

South Turtleback is one of my favorite hikes! Bring a sandwich from Rose’s to go with the amazing view and it’s the perfect lunch spot. I’m so thankful this land is protected and happily donated to the Trust to help keep it maintained. Thank you!!

Great trails and another fantastic vista

We love hiking Turtleback! Sometimes it is just a jaunt to Ship Peak for a scenic lunch spot or the full ridge tour from the South entrance to the North entrance.

Favorite place in the islands

I go for walks on Turtleback almost every day. It’s my favorite place in the islands to reconnect with nature.

6 reviews «1 of 2»