On a recent trip to Orcas Island in Washington, I was pleasantly surprised to find a vintage Airstream offering ice cream, espresso, and more at the top of Mount Constitution.
Before you think this silver bullet can only be reached by mountain climbing, you should know it’s an easy, scenic drive to the summit. A narrow forest road through Moran State Park leads to the top, with glimpses of Puget Sound peeking through the trees along the way.
Mount Constitution Road leads up to a parking area, where Sugar On Top is stationed in addition to restrooms and a seasonal gift shop. There’s a 53-foot-tall stone tower only a short walk from the parking lot, with the most breathtaking views in all of the San Juan Islands.
Sugar On Top by Orcas Adventures serves local ice cream from Lopez Island in gourmet waffle cones. Food items like paninis and grilled cheeses are available, as well as drinks including espresso, homemade strawberry lemonade, water, etc.
The ice cream shop is based in a 1963 fully refurbished Airstream. Orcas Adventures also has another location, The Sugar Shack, in Moran State Park along the shores of Cascade Lake.
A short trail from the parking area leads uphill to a stone tower. This overlook was constructed back in the 1930s as a replica of Russian watchtowers, and is still open for visitors to explore.
From the top of Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see Mount Baker, the North Cascades, Puget Sound, and the other forested islands of the San Juan Island archipelago.
Orcas Island is a peaceful, remote place to plan a trip. RVs and other vehicles can catch a Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to get on the island, and find campsites at Moran State Park and West Beach Resort in Eastsound.
The road up Mount Constitution is open all year, except after heavy snowfall, and closes nightly after dusk. Keep in mind, motorhomes and trailers are not allowed all the way up Mount Constitution Road, so you will want to take a smaller vehicle for this trip.
You’ll also need a pass for parking—$10 day-use permits are available at a pay station in the parking area. Or plan to visit on one of the many free days for Washington State Parks in 2018.
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