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Turtleback Mountain to Orcas Knob is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Eastsound, Washington that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.9 mi Elevation gain 1,322 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views
Waypoints (0)
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UV Index
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Reviews (94)
Photos (109)
Recordings (86)
Completed (138)
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Rachel Shapiro
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Hi, fellow out of shape hikers! As always, my reviews are for YOU. Listen, this was challenging! It’s all uphill, like ALL OF IT. But the view is definitely worth it. I also loved the turnoff for Waldron Overlook, and there is a bench there, which I needed. I went on a Monday at around 11 and saw few others, had the area at the top to ourselves. This is now called the Turtlehead trail, FYI.

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Jenny Czinder
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Hiking

Perfect length and difficulty. Not too hard, not too easy. The view is worth it!

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George C
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Hiking

This was a Great trail steep up hill at first. At second lookout take the lower trail and do not continue on the fire road.

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Michelle LaRue
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Hiking

Beautiful trail, not busy, and stunning views at the top! Great for 8 and 11 year old kids and dog.

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Roger Moffatt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

As a 55 year old recovering from an ankle sprain a few weeks ago I probably wouldn't have chosen this hike if I'd known the elevation gain in advance, but then we'd have missed out on a real treat! We hiked this route the day before the hottest day of the year but it was still well into the 80's out of the sun - and in the sun it was a blazingly hot day. The two lookouts on your way to the knob are well worth the detour but for me, the real treat of this walk is really the forest path once you break away from the logging road and wend your way towards the turtlehead. Simply beautiful and one of the nicest forest hikes we've done - despite the gradient. Shame that it's an out and back rather than a loop, but you get to admire the forest from both directions. Our knees and ankles definitely felt the descent at the end of a long afternoon, but this was a fantastic hike with almost no-one else on the trail or at the summit and for me, a comfortable 5 stars.

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Greg Dessart
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RunningGreat!

Nice easy hike with spectacular views. Our 4 year old made the round trip comfortably. Trail is in great condition and easy to follow. The trail starts on a gravel road for the first 1.7 miles where you come to the junction for Waldron Lookout (right) and Turtleback Perserve (gravel road). Don't pass up the quick walk to Waldron Lookout before heading to the summit (straight on dirt trail). The next 1.3 miles is a nice up and down, curvy stroll through the woods before coming to the open meadows of the summit. You will be captivated by the view of the San Juans and Victoria BC. Great place to enjoy lunch with a large sitting area.

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Tiffany Gross
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Hiking

Rewarding views at the top. First half is basically a steep road uphill, but when you get to the forest lots of bends and turns. Only saw about 10 people. This is the TURTLEHEAD trail!

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Courtney Bartley
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Hiking

long incline but amazing views at the top.

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Audrey Carpenter
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HikingBugs

We enjoyed this out and back! However, the second we got out of the car we were swarmed with mosquitos. Not joking, I got bit three times in a couple of minutes. Make sure you have your bug spray! Once we lathered up, we were good to go and had no troubles. We ended up checking out the mini Lookouts along the way: The North Valley was okay, but the Waldron Lookout was beautiful! Totally worth the small detour. Getting out to Orcas Knob (or the Turtlehead Trail as it’s been renamed) was awesome. A great trail and a spectacular view. Definitely worth doing. Once we did the out and back we also ended up adding the loops in, but honestly it was lackluster. It added mileage but there was not much to see and the trail was overgrown. Stick to the out and back! Would definitely return

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Kristin Tolle
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HikingIcy

It was one of the most beautiful days I've had on the trail. Amazing views of Waldron from the viewpoint and great exercise going up the center loop and over Raven Ridge. The trail had icy spots and a few downed trees, but easy to step over all obstacles. The trail is in great condition.

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Dane Schmick
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Hiking

Great views once you get to the final overlook! Highly recommended on a clear day anytime of year!

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Jeff Kupp
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Hiking

Good hike recommend turtleback head trail great views!

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Richard Clarke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2019
Hiking

This is the best trail and has the best views of any hike on Orcas Island. The views from Orcas Knob are spectacular, from S to NW and (from Waldron Overlook) N. There is no place I’d rather be than seated on the Knob on a sunny afternoon, overlooking the San Juans and Gulf Islands. The first 2/3 of the hike up are along an old logging road and the last mile (the Turtlehead/Orcas Knob Trail) is through thick forest on a beautiful path. Waldron Overlook is very shady and (like Orcas Knob) has stupendous views, and is a great spot for lunch or a break. Total elevation gain (counting dips and reascents) is about 1250 feet. Total RT mileage is about 6-7 miles, I’d guess.

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Kevin Flynn
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Snow

Feb 17, 2019: Trail is snow covered, traction would've been nice but it wasn't impossible. The first mile and a half or so up the old road is mostly uneventful minus two side trails to viewpoints, and in snow it was one step forward half step back the whole way, which got old real quick. The first viewpoint provides nice views of the rest of Orcas Island, the second viewpoint gives a nice glimpse of islands and water north. Beyond the second viewpoint the trail finally leaves the road and meanders through moss covered trees and picturesque forest, eventually giving way to the gorgeous views from the knob.

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Kevin Flynn
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HikingSnow
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Paul Pulliam
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Worth every step. Did it the first time soon after the reserve was created and several times since.

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Jack Connelly
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Hiking

My wife and I hiked this trail last week and loved it. The beginning of the hike was more of an uphill climb than we had expected but was not difficult because it followed a seldom-used road. The two lookouts along the way were well worth the short detour. The second half of the trip was much better. It snaked through the woods on a much narrower, but well-maintained trail. We had expected the trail to head directly up to Orcas Knob but instead we found ourselves hiking down for quite a ways before heading up close to the end of the trail. The view from Orcas Knob was gorgeous and, with few people up at the top it was very peaceful. The signage was a bit confusing. At the point where the road changes into a hiking-only trail the sign says, "Turtlehead Overlook 1.1 mi."(see photo) We expected a sign that said "Orcas Knob." so weren't sure we were going the right direction. Once we reached the end of the trail we found the sign identifying the overlook as "Orcas Knob."

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Laurie McQuay-Peninger
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Hiking
First to Review

i was looking for a relatively quick hike that my daughter and I could do while my other daughter had a pedicure with her grandmother. This was a great pick. The right up says 5.9 miles but the signs on the trail suggest 5.2 or so. As shown it does not go to the summit of Turtleback Mountain but rather the Orcas Knobb overlook on Turtlehead. i did not realize this at first so I was a bit confused. However given our time, this was a great hike and I really enjoyed the views from Orcas Head. The hike is relatively easy with some steep parts on the road section but nothing too hard. My daughter who dislikes ascents with a passion didnt even whine too much.

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Andrew Eller
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Hiking
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Mike Holliday
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Hiking
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Gabe Munoz-Fitch
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Hiking
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Tim Kanaday
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Hiking
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Paula Williams
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Hiking
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Kelly D'Amico
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Hiking
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Katie Washington
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Hiking
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Scott munson
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Hiking
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Kacey Morrow
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Hiking
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Donald Rudee
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Hiking
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Doug Campbell
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Hiking
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mary melink
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Hiking
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