As evening sets in, the activities of the day are winding down. You’ve toured historic downtown, dined at one of Anacortes’s many restaurants, and are ready to settle down for the night. But, the sun has one last experience you don’t want to miss–a Fidalgo Island sunset.
With its many west facing views this island getaway has some amazing spots to take in those last dazzling colors of sunshine.
The first two locations require a short hike through the woods so wear sturdy shoes and come prepared with a flashlight for the hike back.
Sharpe Park Montgomery Duban Headlands – Sares Head
Watching the sunset at Sares Head Viewpoint is probably Anacortes’s best kept secret. It offers 180 degree views which include Whidbey Island, the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Mountains, the San Juan Islands, and Victoria, Canada in far the distance.
To get there, park at the Sharpe Park Montegomery Duban Headlands. From there, it’s a 25-minute hike through 37-acres of marshlands, woods and coastline. The trail is well-maintained, with an elevation gain of 150-feet, and a handful of marked trail offshoots. Be sure to stay on the Sares Head trail. As you get close, the waters of Rosario Strait will peak through the trees and the trail will head up onto a large bald rock face. This is Sares Head. Near the top is a bench, but there are plenty of spots to sit or have a picnic while you wait for the sun to set.
Washington Park – Juniper Point
Washington Park is Anacortes’s most popular park, and the location of Fidalgo Island’s most western spot–Juniper Point. The view includes Burrows Channel, Burrows Island, Rosario Strait and the San Juan Islands. Getting here does require a bit of hiking through 220-acres of woods. For a longer hike, park at the main parking area, and follow the trails up and west. This usually takes around 25-minutes. For a slightly shorter hike, about 20-minutes, park at Burrows Channel Viewpoint and follow the trails west. Or for a very short hike see if the parking spot near trail 515 is open. Like Sares Head, the rock face at Juniper Point is bald. There is one bench at Juniper Point, and lots of space to find a spot to sit. If you take the trail that leads south you’ll find another bench nearby.
At 1,273-feet, Mt. Erie is Fidalgo Island’s highest spot and has views of Whidbey Island, Olympic Mountain, Skagit Valley, Mt. Baker, and Mt. Rainier on a clear day. The easiest way to get to the top is to drive. It’s got some hairpin turns, so be prepared and take your time. One of the best spots to see the sunset is not at the top, but very close to it. As you approach the top, park in the pullout that fits three cars. Walk up the concrete stairs to the viewing area which has excellent San Juan Island views. Across the street a trail leads to another viewing area and up to the top. To view the sunset from Mt. Erie, head to the southern viewing area and watch as the colors shift over the humpbacked Olympic Mountains.
Majestic Rooftop Lounge
It’s no secret that the Majestic Rooftop Lounge has the best view in downtown Anacortes. As the second tallest building in downtown guests get a birds eye view of historic downtown, and fantastic views of the San Juan Islands and Guemes Channel. The only catch is to be here when it’s open. During the months of May, June, and September the rooftop lounge is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to sunset. During July and August, it is open every day from 4 p.m. to sunset.
Not sure when the sun will set? Use this Sunset Calendar to figure out the times for those last glorious minutes of sunshine.
Lara Duning wrote this for the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce.