Motors Allowed?
Moderate / Class B
18.20 mi (29.29 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The circumnavigation of Shaw Island can be approached from several points, including Friday Harbor on San Juan Island or Odlin County Park on Lopez Island. The island can be circumnavigated in either a clockwise or counter clockwise manner, but any paddling should be timed with the currents, especially when crossing the San Juan Channel from Friday Harbor to the southern coast of Shaw Island, where currents can be quite strong. From there, the route offers numerous side trips and scenic camping opportunities with a variety of wildlife along the way. Kayakers have several options when leaving from Friday Harbor. Either follow the coastline of San Juan Island before crossing over to Neck Point, or cross directly over to Point George on Shaw Island and enjoy the varied coastline of this relatively uninhabited island.  

You can extend the trip with a tour of the Wasp Islands. This small group of islands offers beautiful scenery as well as a chance to take a quick break on Yellow Island, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy and open to the public. From the overhanging madrone trees that dot the shorelines of the Wasp Islands, Jones Island is only a short paddle and offers a spectacular place to stay for the night.

From Jones Island, kayakers can choose to paddle around Crane Island either through Wasp Passage or Pole Pass before reconnecting with the shoreline of Shaw Island. Keep an eye out for starfish along the rocky shores, bald eagles, and whales, as well as the many curious seals that inhabit the area. Blind Island, Shaw County Park, and Odlin County Park offer kayakers other options for camping along the way before finishing their journey around Shaw.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Solitude. Wildlife. Great views. Good places to camp.


Boat traffic. Open water crossing.


Campgrounds + Campsites
Whale watching
Bird watching

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




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