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San Juan Island National Historical Park

TIME : 2016/2/18 10:47:15

More known for their scenery than their history, the San Juans nonetheless hide one of the 19th century's oddest political confrontations, the so-called 'Pig War' between the USA and Britain. This curious stand-off is showcased in two separate historical parks on either end of the island that once housed opposing American and English military encampments.

On the southern flank of the island, the American Camp hosts a small visitor center and is a good place to start your historical excursion. Among the remnants of an old fort are the officers' quarters and a laundress' house, while a series of interpretive trails lead to earthwork fortifications, a British farm from the dispute era and desolate South Beach. The 1.8-mile hike along the ridge of Mt Finlayson makes for a pleasant walk with splendid views and unlimited bird-watching potential.

At the opposite end of the island, English Camp , 9 miles northwest of Friday Harbor, contains the remains of British military facilities dating from the 1860s. A path from the parking area leads down to a handful of restored buildings that lie in an attractive setting overlooking Garrison Bay. Hikes from here lead to an old British cemetery and to the top of 650ft Young Hill.