The popular Cattle Point NRCA gets a make over

Cattle Point NRCA fence
A Puget SoundCorps crew installs split rail fencing to protect native habitat at Cattle Point NRCA. Photo: Christopher Robertson, DNR

Located on the southern-most tip of San Juan Island, Cattle Point Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) is a well-loved area that boasts magnificent views of the surrounding islands and the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Unfortunately, increased visits to the Cattle Point Interpretive Center have threatened conservation efforts at the site. The trails around the Interpretive Center were showing signs of age through loss of soil and rotten wood edging. With the help of Puget SoundCorps crews, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was able to reconstruct all 600 feet of trail with a new base layer, trail edging, and gravel. These trail improvements will enhance the condition of surrounding grassland ecosystems and habitat for grassland-associated species, particularly butterflies. 


In addition, more than 500 feet of split rail fencing was installed to keep visitors away from perilous cliff edges as well as to help minimize trampling of foliage. Significant improvements were also made to the gravel parking areas to better define parking spaces.

About Cattle Point NRCA
Many of the restored trails are located around the interpretive center. The interpretive area includes parking, beach access, hiking trails with viewpoints, and a picnic area with shelter and restroom. Wildlife is abundant and includes eagles and other birds of prey. Cattle Point NRCA offers outstanding views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and surrounding islands.

Cattle Point NRCA offers beautiful views of the San Juan Islands. Photo: Paul McFarland, DNR.
Cattle Point NRCA offers beautiful views of the San Juan Islands. Photo: Paul McFarland, DNR.

Plan your trip to Cattle Point NRCA this spring
Cattle Point is impressive any time of year, but is especially pleasant late spring into autumn, when temperatures and wind are moderate. 

Cattle Point NRCA includes about 1.3 miles of trail that connects to Third Lagoon Preserve, Mount Finlayson, and San Juan Island National Historical Park.  A trail leads from Cattle Point Road to the Coast Guard lighthouse south of the interpretive center. Download a map of Cattle Point NRCA

Don’t forget your Discover Pass. Your purchase helps to keep this and other outdoor recreation opportunities open and accessible to the public

For information on classroom visits and other educational opportunities, please contact Paul McFarland, DNR natural areas manager, at 360-854-2882 or

From the ferry terminal at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, take Spring Street for 0.5 miles. Turn left onto Mullis Street, which will become Cattle Point Road. Continue for about 8 miles, travelling past American Camp. The Cattle Point NRCA interpretive center is on the right.


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