How to find the camps
No matter what the season, visitors to the essentially rural atmosphere of San Juan Island need to make some mental adjustments. Most park visitors arrive during the summer months. Expect lots of company in town, on the roads, along the trails and in parking areas, especially between Memorial and Labor days.
Getting to the Park Units
The American Camp visitor center is about six miles southeast of Friday Harbor along Cattle Point Road. Simply drive west on Spring Street to Mullis Street and turn left. The road will wind a bit and change its name twice until it becomes Cattle Point Road. Remember to turn right on the visitor center entrance road after you see the large park entrance sign. If you turn before the sign, you’ll be in the Eagle Cove housing development.
Cattle Point Road passes three miles through the park right of way. The speed limit is 45 mph, but please be mindful, especially in the wooded stretch, that wild animals cross this road and bicyclists may be around one of the blind corners. Startled cyclists tend to turn and look over their left shoulders, which causes them to swerve toward the center line. Park speed limits are 15 mph on the visitor center entrance road and 25 mph on Pickett’s Lane (which leads to South Beach). Be especially careful when exiting the American Camp visitor center entrance road.
English Camp is located about nine miles northwest of Friday Harbor on West Valley Road. Take Spring Street to Second Street and turn right. Go straight. At the first stop sign you encounter, Second becomes Guard. Go to the next stop sign and continue to go straight. The street runs past the library, bends right and left and becomes Beaverton Valley Road. Follow Beaverton Valley Road over Cady Mountain (it’s a small mountain). The road becomes West Valley Road. About 500 feet past the park entrance sign, on the left, is the entrance road to the parade ground. The speed limit is 15 mph, and we urge you to take it seriously. English Camp also may be accessed via Roche Harbor Road. To reach the Roche Harbor Road from Friday Harbor, turn right at the second stop sign onto Tucker Avenue. Tucker becomes Roche Harbor Road just outside of town. Take Roche Harbor Road to West Valley Road and turn left. The parade ground entrance road will be your second right after you pass the park entrance sign.
A Word About Road Safety
The island is only 54 square miles (about 16 1/2 miles long and 6 1/2 miles wide at the midsection). That means not only is it hard to get lost, you don’t have to be in an all-fired hurry to get anywhere! If you’re driving an automobile or truck, be especially mindful of bicycles, mopeds and three-wheeled motorized scooters. They have the right of way the same as you. If you must pass, do it carefully and do not cross a solid double line. Conversely, cyclists should remember that, while they do have the right of way, it is considered a courtesy here to form a single line right.
Did You Know?
The English Camp barracks was originally used as the privates' mess until extended in 1867. During the restoration process in the early 1970's a pot of gold coins and currency was found in the attic. The treasure belonged to the Crook family, who settled on the site in 1875.