Guemes Channel and Ship Harbor Trail, Anacortes

anacortes hiking, nature walks with children

Looking at the Ferry, Guemes Channel Trail

A couple of weeks ago we took advantage of a warm afternoon to hike a new trail to us: Guemes Channel and Ship Harbor Trails up in Anacortes. We found these little gems in Craig Romano’s newest hiking guide for the San Juans and Gulf Islands. Leaving from a cul-de-sac, the trails go off in opposite directions along the shore of Guemes Channel.

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The Trailhead, Guemes Island Trail

We decided to do the paved Geumes Channel trail first, walking east along the water. The sun was warm, but there was a breeze from the east that carried the first twinges of fall. We enjoyed looking out toward the Anacortes ferry, Mt. Baker, and the nearby San Juan Islands. We watched cormorants fish and observed snowberries and orange rose hips.

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Colorful native rose hips

When we reached the end of the trail, we turned back around and explored the Ship Harbor Interpretive Trail. This sweet little trail winds through the wetlands just east of the Anacortes Ferry.

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Observation platform on the Ship Harbor Trail

Birds flit in and out of the bushes. Bunnies browse the undergrowth. Cormorants and kingfishers rest on the rotting piers leftover from the city’s historical cannery days.

nature walks for children, Anacortes hiking, Guemes Channel

Birds on Pilings and Anacortes Ferry

This tail has a sandy beach to wander, and plenty of benches and observation platforms to make use of. Lots of folks were out enjoying the sunshine on the afternoon we went.

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Enjoying the Art, Ship Harbor Trail

These trails would make excellent destinations for families with young children. We will also keep them in mind for times when we just want to get out of the house but aren’t up for larger trips. Families who are camping at Washington Park or Deception Pass and who want a toddler-friendly trail will want to check these out, as well. Interpretive signs illustrate local history and interesting ecological facts. We ended our day by playing and relaxing at West Beach at Deception Pass State Park, and watching the sunset.

If You Go: The length of the Guemes Channel Trail is 0.9 miles RT, and the Ship Harbor Trail is about 0.7 miles RT. Guemes Channel Trail is paved and flat and has benches to enjoy the view. Local residents are trying to extend the trail all the way to downtown Anacortes. No parking permits are required. There is a porta-potty at the trailhead. Dogs are allowed on a leash. You can get more information about the Guemes Channel Trail on this website. To access the trailhead, follow signs into Anacortes and pretend you are going to the San Juan Ferry. Just before you would turn into the ferry area, look for a newer housing development and Ship Harbor Road. Turn right onto Ship Harbor Road, then left onto Edwards Way. Follow this road to the cul-de-sac and park at the end of the road.

hiking anacortes, guemes channel, nature with children

Grass, water, Mt. Baker and Sky from Ship Harbor Trail