Turtleback Mountain South Trail is a 6.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Eastsound, WA that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
We started at the south parking lot, then followed South Trail to Morning Ridge Trail to the West Overlook. Beautiful views both there and at Ship Peak. Most hikers then followed Lost Oak Trail back to the parking lot for a moderate hike. We saw many older hikers, young parents with babies in backpacks, and people with dogs on this part of the trial. We were interested in the view from the 1519 foot summit so headed up Ridge Trail, which kicked our butts. We traveled up the east side of Raven Ridge Trail and were disappointed that, not only was the summit unmarked, but there was no view from there. There was a lot of steep downhill coming down the western paths, and not nearly the views that the east side offered. Our route was over 7 miles and took about 3 hours. Pretty challenging but views were worth it!
Steep early on with a decent amount of traffic. Thinned out considerably after a half mile or so. Vistas become more and more beautiful the higher you go.
Amazing hike on Turtleback Mtn. Coming from the east coast, we don't have views like this. We went up Morning Ridge Trail, past the West Overlook, up to Ship Peak, and around and down Lost Oak Trail. There is a decent sized parking lot, we got there mid-day, mid-week so there was a spot for us, but it was pretty full. I saw all ages hiking, some with dogs. It's not difficult terrain but there are some stretches of a steep incline and so it seems best if you are in decent shape with regular activity. It was a really beautiful hike. I loved all the moss and dense woods on Lost Oak Trail and the views up Morning Ridge were stunning. It took just about 2 hours, with a lot of stopping for photos.
The address we used to get to the South trailhead was 89 Wildrose Ln, Eastsound, WA 98245
09/10/2015 - This is a quick, enjoyable hike that you can do in less than an hour. We started at 6:30 pm to time it for sunset at the top. The sun goes down right over Vancouver Island. It's a beautiful scene. We took the South Trail counter-clockwise to the Morning Ridge Trail and the West Overlook. This opens up beautiful views to the east and Mount Constitution, Eastsound and Westsound Marina. Continuing up the Ship Peak for sunset, then back by headlamp via Lost Oak Trail. Reversing that route would have been a much harder hike. More on my blog: http://cairnguru.com/trailreports/2015/9/13/turtleback-mountain
More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com
Started about 8:30 AM and hiked for about 2 1/2 hrs. I just couldn't believe the views. Trail was soft and cushy. Dense woods to a wide jeep trail. Don't be in a rush on this hike, take a snack and relish in the views. Heading back tomorrow weather permitting to check out the Raven Ridge trail.
Beautiful moderate hike with stunning views of all of the islands, AND the magnificent farmland down in the middle of Orcas Island. What a treat! Entered South Entrance, took Lost Oak Trail & curved back down by Shipwreck Point. Had our 2.5 and 4 year old with us, so took 2 hours 45 min, but would obviously be way faster for others. Several view points, dry, clearly marked divisions, several benches, great birding & some wildflowers made this a great local trail. The farmland views were my favorite!
This trail has a N. and S. entrance (I did the N. and that is what this review is based on). The elevation starts from the very beginning and it not for the faint of heart but it can be done as this was my first trail in years. I took many breaks along the way as I started around an elevation of 300' and ended around 1100' and that is not the summit of the beautiful mountain. Along the way there are two outlooks with breathtaking views and what a Kodak moment they are! The trail is clearing defined with car tracks and visible signs for the outlooks are posted at detour with a visible trail.
I really enjoyed hiking the trail and would recommend packing water and maybe a snack. This is an out-and-back trail but there are two loops which connect to the main trail about 2/3 of the way in (didn't get that far). Although the elevation is steep it is worth the climb.
There are also some reviews (one by me!) on the WTA link which I included. :)