Jones Island State Park is centrally located in the San Juan archipelago and is accessible from a variety of launch points for adventurers utilizing a variety of modes of transportation. This state park island encompasses 188 acres of woodland, grassy cleanings, and an orchard. Lying in San Juan Channel between Orcas Island and San Juan Island, Jones Island draws a plethora of visitors in summer. Anyone planning to stay the night here should come prepared to keep their food safe from nightly visitors such as raccoons and deer.
There are several locations to launch from to access to Jones Island. Marinas and resorts may have associated launch fees. Boaters in the San Juan Islands should be aware of large tide swings and the tidal currents associated with them. Tide swings can exceed 13 feet during springs tides, and some locations in the San Juan Islands have tidal currents that can exceed 5 knots. Please consult tide and current atlases before planning your trip, and be sure that you are well versed with appropriate navigation skills.
Access from San Juan Island:
From Orcas Island:
There are three landing areas available for camping. Among these locations, there are a total of 24 primitive campsites, each of which is equipped with a fire pit and picnic table. There is running water available at the south and north ends of the island; water is typically turned on from mid-May through the end of September, but if you want to be safe, call ahead to Lime Kiln State Park (360.378.2044) to ask if water will be available during your visit. Composting toilets are available at each camp area on the island. Camping fees are $12 per primitive campsite, which are for up to 8 people. Fees are payable with cash or check in the deposit boxes on the north and south end of the island. BEWARE OF RACOONS AND DEER: They will aggressively come searching food left unattended or unwatched by visitors. They have learned how to open some kayak hatches, and they will certainly get into soft goods that are not hung appropriately. Many visitors choose to either hang their food or bring along a hard-shelled and secure box, tub, or bucket.
The south end of Jones Island (48.612301, -123.045907) is home to mooring buoys for visitors arriving by non-beachable watercraft, and there is also a rounded-gravel beach for kayaks, canoes, dinghies, and other small vessels. This beach has a high embankment, so any campers should be prepared to carry their gear up the staircase in the middle of the beach. The south side camp area has a couple of sleeping shelters and one group camp with a covered eating area that may be reserved in advance. All other campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are two more isolated sites on the point just west of the primary landing cove and one on the point just east of the landing area. The remainder of the campsites on the south end are in the clearing surrounding the apple and pear orchard.
The north end of Jones Island (48.617498, -123.048114) provides a rounded gravel beach, moorage buoys, and a dock that allows non-beachable boats shore access to the island. The north end of Jones Island is ADA accessible with one of the camp areas specifically designed to be wheelchair friendly. The remaining primitive campsites are located on either side of the dock, with great views of the north cove. All single campsites are first-come, first-served, and there is one group shelter available by reservation. At the end of September, the state parks will remove the dock from the north end of the island so that it does not get destroyed by the winter storms that come in from the north; the dock is returned some time in the spring dependent on weather.
The west side of Jones Island (48.616154, -123.052007) is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail and is only for use by non-motorized beachable watercraft. There are two campsites and one composting toilet here, though campers must take a short walk to the north end of the island to get fresh water. This campsite has an amazing sunset view looking out to the west over San Juan Island. If you’re camped here, be sure to keep your eyes on the water as orca whales will occasionally pass through San Juan Channel.
The trails on Jones Island offer quick access from one end to the other cutting across the narrow middle section of the island, but they also offer about 4 miles of easy terrain for hikers to explore the forested groves on this island. The Washington State Parks is trying to restore the Garry oak habitat along much of the shoreline because it is being overgrown by other local species. If visitors keep their eyes peeled, they may even find an occasional Pacific yew tree. The east and west trails are each about 2 miles, and the shortcut through the middle of the island is about a half mile.