Wander through shoulder-high salal and tall timber to a tight rocky channel teeming with bird and marine life. Watch eagles, cormorants, kingfishers, and oystercatchers dine on seafood. And observe seals basking on channel rocks and swimming in the strong currents. Shark Reef Sanctuary is an excellent destination for children (and adults) seeking outdoor discovery.
On good trail, set out through thick forest carpeted in salal. Pass a handful of old firs spared the ax and after a short descent, reach the rocky shoreline (elev. 20 feet/6 m). Turn south and walk on ledges along Cattle Pass, its strong currents separating Lopez from San Juan Island.
At 0.5 mile (0.8 km), the trail ends at a rocky and grassy bluff framed by windblown shore pines. Seek a sunny sitting spot and enjoy the scenery. Across the channel, Mount Finlayson rises above the golden lawns of Cattle Point. Dallas Mountain, highest point on San Juan Island, peeks out just to the northwest. Look south to the Olympics, hovering above the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and east to Iceberg Point. Directly in front of you in the channel are Deadman Island and a series of reefs and offshore rocks. At low tide, these areas teem with seals.