Turtleback Mountain is the highest point on the western lobe of Orcas Island, and also represents a high point for conservation of wild places in Washington. In 2006 the San Juan Islands land bank and many other contributors raised $17 million to purchase the land surrounding the mountain from a foundation, saving this landmark from development into expensive private homes. The result is a huge tract of wild public land, accessed by a network of maintained hiking trails--a true recreational gem.
Arcane peak stat trivia: Turtleback is the second most-prominent peak in the contiguous US states that is located on an island, but is not the island high point. Only Silver Peak on Catalina Island, CA beats it out. Both Turtleback and Silver have key cols very near sea level, at a notable isthmus on double-lobed islands.
The summit of Turtleback is accessed from the Raven Ridge trail and is a 2.5 mile hike from either the North or South public trailheads. An overgrown old logging road leads west from a trailside clearing to the rocky dome of the true summit point. There are no views from the summit plateau, but lots of nice, open mossy forest.
The "gazebo", a cabin built by former landowner Norton Clapp at the summit, appears to have been removed by the new public land managers. It may have been located in the clearing just east of the Raven Ridge trail near the top, and trees now block views from that site.
Hiking to the summit from the south is the more scenic option, passing over the sub-peak of open, rocky, Ship Peak and its sweeping views.