Wild About Yellow Island

Posted by Sandi

Approaching Yellow Island - an 11-acre preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy. What a gorgeous day for a paddle!

Yesterday I finally did one of the San Juan Islands’ must-dos: a tour of  Yellow Island during the  peak wildflower season.  We hooked up with Jeff Zbornik, owner of Shearwater Kayaks, for an easy paddle from Deer Harbor. Wow! Now I know what everyone’s been raving about.

The island’s caretaker, Phil, who has lived there in a driftwood cottage for 13 years, said this is the most spectacular spring he’s seen. The extra rain and cooler temps have extended the camas flowers by a month, synching blooms with Harsh Paintbrush and Buttercup. The result: a dizzying combo of purple-blue, red and yellow. I hope to be posting a video soon; in the meantime you can see more photos at my husband’s website. 

Harsh Paintbrush, Great Camas and Buttercup. Some of the Camas were waist-high!


McConnell Rock connected by spit to McConnell Island; background is Deer Harbor and Turtleback Mountain

Things to know before you go:

  • No food or drink allowed on the island.
  • No restrooms.
  • No pets.
  • Stay on the trails.
  • A group of six or more requires permission. Call 206-360-4344
  • All of the surrounding islands are either private or off limits. But tiny McConnell Rock, just north of Yellow Island, is open to the public. Go at low tide so you can land on the spit that connects McConnell Rock and McConnell Island.
  • To go ashore Yellow Island, use the south beach only. 

There is some interesting history to this area. I will save it for another post. Meanwhile, this adventure reminds me why I love living in the San Juan Islands — so beautiful and so many cool things to do within easy reach (or paddle!)

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Adventure, Nature

2 Responses to Wild About Yellow Island

  1. Thanks for posting this. We never even knew the island existed. Absolutely stunning!