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Patos Island

San Juan Islands

Northern Puget Sound, Washington

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Patos Island

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  • The sun sets over the Patos Island Lighthouse.- Patos Island
  • A tugboat passes by on the way to Matia, Sucia, and Patos Islands.- Patos Island
  • Matia Island offers kayakers a nice place to take a break before heading to Patos Island.- Patos Island
  • Sucia Island can be seen in the distance from Matia Island.- Patos Island
  • Paddlers can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife as well as views of Mount Baker throughout the paddle.- Patos Island
  • Porpoises and seals are common along the exposed paddle to Patos Island.- Patos Island
  • A couple rows back to their sailboat in Active Cove on Patos Island.- Patos Island
  • Water splashes along the shores of Active Cove on Patos Island.- Patos Island
  • A container ship passes through the Strait of Georgia as seen from Patos Island.- Patos Island
  • The crossings between Matia, Sucia, and Patos can be rough and unpredictable.- Patos Island
  • Matia Island offers kayakers a place to wait out bad weather or rough seas before making the crossing back to Gooseberry Point or venturing out to Sucia or Patos.- Patos Island
  • A kayaker launches his boat from Matia Island.- Patos Island
  • A kayak rests on the beaches of Matia Island.- Patos Island
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Isolated islands. Seals and porpoises.
Cons: 
Long, exposed crossings. Unpredictable currents and weather.
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Region:
Northern Puget Sound, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Site characteristics: Water: 
Sound/Strait
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
30.00 mi (48.28 km)
Water difficulty: 
Difficult / Class C
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

From Gooseberry Point, kayakers have the opportunity to test their paddling skills on the long open water crossings between Matia, Sucia, and Patos Islands.  

Patos Island may be the most remote island in the San Juan Islands. The exposed position of Patos, Sucia, and Matia along the Strait of George coupled with the long crossings required to get to these islands make this group of islands some of the most beautiful and treacherous in the area. Paddlers should be aware of the potential for being stuck on any of these islands if conditions deteriorate. Patos Island offers a 1.5-mile hiking loop as well as views of the Patos Island Lighthouse and a scenic shoreline to explore during low tides.

Located on Patos Island's far western tip, Alden Point, and first lit as a navigational aid in 1893, Patos Island Lighthouse is the northernmost beacon in the San Juan Islands providing aid for mariners making passage through the Strait of Georgia. The light is also interestingly the subject of a locally well-known personal childhood memoir, The Light on the Island, by Helene Glidden, daughter of Edward Durgan, an early keeper who was stationed at the light between 1905 and 1913. “If ever a book was calculated to recite the wonders of living in the San Juan Islands it is The Light on the Island," wrote the Seattle Times in 1951.

Puget Sound Lighthouses

In total, the Puget Sound is home to 19 U.S. lighthouses still standing, not all of which are currently in use. Lighthouses and light stations include (from north to south):

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(77 within a 30 mile radius)

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