Eagle Harbor Washington and Reed Lake Hiking Trail

My wife and I spent a beautiful weekend in Eagle Harbor (washington), just off the coast of Cypress Island. We are truly experiencing the Halcyon Days here in the San Juan Islands. The weather is crisp, calm, and sunny. This weather should last on and off between now and the middle of February. Then the winds will pick up again until about May.

Our trip this weekend was a bit spur of the moment. The weather was so nice on Saturday, we decided to head out spontaneously at 3 hours before sundown on Saturday. That’s the beautiful thing about living on a boat – taking advantage of surprise, nice weather. To compliment our spontaneity, we decided to try hiking the Reed Lake hiking trail – an area of Cypress Island where we had never been.

Eagle Harbor WA

Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island from Chris Troutner on Vimeo.


Cypress Island Map

I covered Eagle Harbor in my book, Gunkholing in the Salish Sea. In it, I focused on the hiking trail to Duck Lake and Eagle Cliff. You can see both of those trails in the cypress island map below, as well as the new trail to Reed Lake. These trails were created by my Garmin Rhino GPS and uploaded to Google Maps.

You can download a copy of the official cypress island map with hiking trails here. You can download the GPX and KMZ files for Reed Lake and upload it into your GPS to create your own cypress island hiking map.

View Eagle Harbor, Duck Lake, Eagle Cliff in a larger map

Reed Lake

One reason I had never done the Reed Lake trail is because it’s so intimidatingly steep. According to my GPS, the elevation gain is about 500 feet and the trail makes a pretty steady 15 to 20 percent grade from the water. It’s a real slog getting up the hill. The trail is about a mile each way. However, it’s worth it!

Reed Lake is stunningly beautiful. It was particularly enchanting on this trip because the lake was mostly frozen over and the heavy frost covering everything glowed prettily in the bright sunlight. Based on the amount of scat I found around the lake, it sports a healthy population of river otters. I also saw posters alerting hikers to keep an eye out for red foxes.

Reed Lake on Cypress Island from Chris Troutner on Vimeo.

Some industrious locals built an amazing log-cabin style duck blind. Duck hunting is very popular in Skagit county. Duck Lake (also on Cypress) has a permanent duck blind built around it to, but not nearly this nice.

cypress island duck blind

This bird blind on Reed Lake is pretty cozy and is great for hunting or bird watching. I’d love to know the story of how it came to be.

Another thing I’ve seen scattered around the islands are these wooden benches. I’m not sure if they were built by local residents or the department of natural resources, but they are all badly in need of repair.

hiking trails on cypress island

These broken benches are scattered around Cypress Island. Sad. 🙁

Related posts:

Chinook Salmon Fishing in the San Juan Islands
Why Blog?
Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 9
2 Responses to “Eagle Harbor Washington and Reed Lake Hiking Trail”
  1. working site says:

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS.
    I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

    • Chris says:

      I’ve had other people complain about the RSS before too. I’m not an expert in this area, but I use FeedBurner to send out email notices to subscribers who want to get notified when I put up a new post. There is a sign up at the bottom of the right side bar. I know FeedBurner uses RSS and it works great, so I’m not sure what the problem is for everyone else.

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