A Hiking Trail Map of Cypress Head

I’ve been digging around the internet on how to download track data to and from my GPS. I finally figured it out and decided that I’d share my GPS data on this website, as well as on Google Maps and Google Earth.

The first hike I’ll share is Cypress Head. This is not my favorite hike in the world. It’s extremely vertical, making about 1000 foot of elevation gain for 4000 feet of horizontal distance. However, this trail is infrequently traveled for the same reasons, which adds to the allure. Just get ready to feel the burn should you decide to follow my footsteps.

The trail leads from the beach at Cypress Head at sea level up to the abandoned air strip, clearly visible on the satellite maps. This is a great day hike, but the air strip also makes a great staging area for a multi-day hike as trails branch out from there to the rest of Cypress Island.


View Cypress Head to Cypress Airstrip in a larger map

This Google Maps shows the location of Cypress Head and the breadcrump trail of GPS coordinates I was able to pull from my Garmin Rino 530HCx. You can download this GPX file, which should work with most GPS software. I also have the KMZ file, so that you can view the trail on Google Earth (and Maps). Here is a screenshot of what it looks like in Google Earth:

hiking trail guide for cypress head

The hiking trail map on Google Earth, showing an elevation profile.


Hiking and Walking Cypress Head

The only obstacle in hiking and walking cypress head is transportation. If you’re not much of a boater, you can always hire a ferry. However, Cypress is close enough to Anacortes and Guemes, that a Kayak is a popular form of transportation to the island. Many people put in at Washington Park in Anacortes, but I would personally prefer to start from Hunts Park on Guemes and leave at slack going into an ebb tide. Cypress Head has plenty of campsites and a nice toilet, so don’t be afraid to stay a few days.

If you are a boater, then you’re you’ll be happy to know there are at least four mooring buoys at Cypress Head. My Afoot & Afloat book says there are five, but I don’t think I remember seeing that many. They are all located on the north beach. The south beach has no buoys and anchoring is not recommended. Because it’s usually empty, kayakers tend to beach their kayaks on the south beach.

Mooring at Cypress Head can be a bit sketchy. The buoys are very exposed to north winds, but are also fairly exposed to the dominant south winds. Mooring here is best done in the summer months when the winds are calm. More than an 8 or 10 mile per hour wind make Cypress Head uncomfortable. For this reason, it a more popular kayak spot than a boating spot. Many regulars will camp on land, even if they moor their boat.

Cypress is the only island that allows hunting with a center fire rifle, so this hike is popular with motivated hunters. Because of it’s difficulty in terms of both hiking and boating, it would be my first choice for hunting. The fishing around the Head is great, but you need to have sunny weather and a slack tide. Lingcod and greenling are prevalent around the kelp beds. The tide can really rip through the channel here, so be careful!


Help Make This Article Better!

Have you been to Cypress Head? Leave more information in the comments below to help us make this post better. What were your experiences? What did you see?

Related posts:

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 4
Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 7
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
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