Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 48.56473°N / 122.70165°W
Additional Information County: Skagit
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 1525 ft / 465 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Cypress Island is the third-highest Island Highpoint in Washington, behind only Mount Constitution (Orcas Island) and Lummi Peak (Lummi Island). Unlike several other notable islands in the San Juans region, no ferries go to Cypress Island. Visitors must arrive via boat, kayak, or canoe. Several small sections of the island are on private property, but the highpoint and standard routes to the highpoint are not on private property. Nearly all of the island contains land owned and managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) either as a Conservation Area or Natural Area Preserve. The island highpoint is located on the border between those two types of DNR land.
Cypress IslandCypress Island HP

The standard approaches for the Cypress Island Highpoint (HP) are mostly along official DNR trails, with only a small amount of off-trail required to reach the summit. These areas are all accessible to the public, but only as a no-stay, "Leave No Trace Behind" basis. Leaving the official DNR trails and roads is generally frowned upon, so try to make summit attempts as limited and direct as possible. Despite an extensive trail system, the island receives a low amount of trail users overall (outside of those people who own private property on the island), and even fewer summiters, so in reality much of the area will likely remain fairly pristine and intact well into the future.
Cypress IslandCypress Island HP

The island was originally named "Isla de San Vincente" by Juan Francisco de Eliza in 1790, for the then-Viceroy of Mexico. Two years later, on June 6, 1792, the present name was charted by Captain George Vancouver during one of his voyages through Puget Sound. He chose the current name after erroneously noting many cypress trees on the island (which were actually juniper trees).
Eastern San Juan IslandsCypress Island, With Sinclair Island In Foreground

Getting There

It is possible to approach Cypress Island from several directions, including from Anacortes and Guemes Island, but the directions listed below are from the public boat launch at Washington Park on the northwest end of Fidalgo Island (several miles west of Anacortes).


1) Head west along Highway 20.
2) After 11.4 miles, keep straight to follow the "Highway 20 Spur" heading towards Anacortes.
3) After 2.7 miles, at a roundabout take the first right/ northern exit at Commercial Avenue, heading towards Anacortes.
4) After 1.3 miles, turn left (west) at 12th Street to remain on Highway 20 Spur, heading towards the San Juan Ferry terminal.
5) After 3.1 miles, shortly before the San Juan Ferry terminal cutoff, continue straight (leftside) onto Sunset Avenue heading towards Washington Park.
6) After 0.8 miles, enter Washington Park. Signs lead the way to the boat launch and parking areas. For a list of current rules, regulations, and parking fees, please visit the official Washington Park website.

Using a boat, kayak, or canoe, head north for ~4-5 miles towards the eastern coastline of Cypress Island. See the "Standard Routes" listed below for mooring and hiking locations.

Standard Routes

The standard approaches listed below for the Cypress Island HP are from the two closest mooring locations, at Cypress Head and Eagle Harbor.


Cypress Head TrailheadCypress Head (Beach & Trailhead)

1) Hike west along the Cypress Head Trail.
NOTE: There are several sections of the trail that pass old roads and private property routes. Follow the wooden trail signs and marked junctions.
Cypress Head TrailHiking Along Cypress Head Trail...

2) After 1.5 miles, turn left at a trail junction.
NOTE: Continuing straight (north) would lead to Reed Lake.
3) After 0.3 miles, the trail reaches an old open airfield strip. The DNR has made attempts to add regrowth to the area, but the old airfield is still quite recognizable and easy to follow. Turn right at the airfield.
Cypress Island AirfieldOn The Airfield...

4) Hike north 0.1 miles along the airfield. Turn left.
5) Hike west 0.1 miles along an adjacent open landstrip to the Bradberry Lake Trail junction.
Cypress Island AirfieldApproaching The Bradberry Lake Trail Junction...

6) After 0.3 miles along the Bradberry Lake Trail, the lake is reached.
Bradberry LakeBradberry Lake

7) Shortly after passing the northern end of the lake, turn right.
8) After 0.1 miles, the road-trail reaches its crest. An old abandoned DNR road is encountered on the left (south) side of the main road-trail. Turn left (south) onto the old road.
Old DNR RoadOld DNR Road

9) Follow the old road south/southwest for at least 0.2-0.3 miles before beginning to head west off-road and steeper uphill.
Cypress Island HPHeading Off-Road And Steeply Uphill...

10) Using a GPS device programmed with the general HP coordinates as a guide, go to the forested summit area. Several locations are possible highpoint contenders; just touch every stump until satisfied with a successful summit.
Cypress Island HPOne Section Of Forested Summit Contour...

HIKING DISTANCE: ~3.0 miles (one-way).


Eagle HarborEagle Harbor

1) Hike south along the Cypress Mainline Road.
2) After 1.7 miles, turn left at a road-trail junction for Airfield Trail. 3) After 0.3 miles, turn right (west) at a trail junction for Bradberry Lake Trail.
4) After 0.6 miles, leave the Bradberry Lake Trail and begin heading south, steeply uphill, towards the Cypress Island HP.
11) Using a GPS device programmed with the general HP coordinates as a guide, go to the forested summit area. Several locations are possible highpoint contenders; just touch every stump until satisfied with a successful summit.
HIKING DISTANCE: ~2.8 miles (one-way).

NOTE: An alternate approach from Eagle Harbor would follow the Cypress Mainline Road to the Reed Lake Trail, then to the Bradberry Lake Trail. The hiking distance for this route would also be ~2.8 miles (one-way).

Red Tape

Although most of Cypress Island is controlled by DNR, some private property exists. Follow directions provided on trail signs and at kiosks on the island. Going off-trail onto private property might result in future trail closures, loss of privileges on State Lands, and/or citations. Please review current Cypress Island rules, regulations, and maps on the DNR website prior to visiting the island.
Old Truck On Cypress IslandOld Abandoned Truck Near Cypress Head Trail...

Access on Cypress Island is on a "Leave No Trace Behind" basis.

Only camp in designated locations (see below).

Only hiking is allowed on Cypress Island. Bicycling, pack animals, and all motorized and non-motorized vehicles prohibited.

Several of the main trailheads on Cypress Island have party registration/sign-in locations. All hiking parties passing these kiosks should register at those locations. Registering will help show the trail system is getting usage, which might ultimately help DNR keep its lands on Cypress Island public accessible as long as possible in the future.
View From Cypress IslandEastern View From Eagle Harbor...


Camping is allowed on Cypress Island only at two designated locations, Cypress Head near the southeast end of the island and Pelican Beach near the northeast end of the island. Cypress Head offers the closest starting point for an approach to the Cypress Island highpoint, but both camping locations area linked to the same overall trail system.


-> Nine designated campsites.
-> Four mooring buoys.
-> Toilet.
-> Picnic area.
-> Please only have campfires in designated established firepits.


-> Seven designated campsites.
-> Six mooring buoys.
-> Toilet.
-> Picnic area.
-> Please only have campfires in designated established firepits.

External Links

An official DNR trail map for Cypress Island can be found at this link.