Viqueen Lodge at Sinclair Island
In 1928, the Women's Athletic Association of Bellingham Normal School, now Western Washington University, purchased the ViQueen Lodge on Sinclair Island for $2,000.00. The lodge was appropriately named ViQueen Lodge, as there were no men in the Association. For the next 40 years the WAA used the property over Memorial Day weekend for their annual outing. Outside of this, the cabin saw very little use.
The WAA disbanded in 1973 and turned the island property over to Western's Physical Education Department for administration. Between 1973 and 1983, few individuals used the property and there is no history of any cabin maintenance.
In 1977, a proposal was made to demolish the old building and build new recreational facilities, cabins, and dock. An Environmental Impact Statement was completed for this proposed project; the Environmental Impact Assessment was done by the College of the Environment (formerly Huxley College) and is on file with Skagit County. The proposal did not progress beyond the preliminary planning stage due to budgetary constraints.
Six years later, student Tracy Prescott approached the Viking Union and Associated Students and asked if they would pay for materials needed to repair the cabin: if he were to perform the work without change. He had visited Sinclair previously and witnessed the need for maintenance. The AS Board made a visit to the Island and surveyed the grounds, and ultimately accepted his proposal and decided to fund his work. In the spring of 1983, he began repairs on the cabin. Management of the property was now under the guidance of the AS, as it continues to be, and in July of that year, it was ready for visitors once again.
Since this time, several groups and private users have enjoyed the solitude and tranquility offered at ViQueen Lodge. One of the greatest contributors to the ViQueen Lodge during the past 30 years has been Jim Schuster. During his time as Director of Viking Union Facilities Jim continued to maintain and run the small army of volunteers required to keep ViQueen Lodge operating throughout the year. Thanks to his dedication and ability to provide ongoing care thousands of users have been able to enjoy all that ViQueen has to offer. Upon his retirement in June of 2014 came the end of another legacy of the ViQueen Lodge.
Over the last few years ViQueen lodge has received a number of facility upgrades. This includes the installation of a new outdoor shower, a new 2 stall bathroom, boathouse for Viking Outdoor Recreation, as well as electricity and lights in the cabin! At the beginning of Summer 2022 the Lodge will be available to students, staff, faculty and alumni for general use once again!
While preparing for your trip, one of your first steps will be choosing your transportation out to ViQueen Lodge. While there are several options, it is important that you choose the best for your party. Given the unique geographical context, your primary options involve some form of a watercraft to reach Sinclair Island! One of the greatest parts of your visit can be your time spent traveling out to the Island.
By water you will have the chance to see the rich aquatic life including seals, several bird species, and even Orcas.
If you are an avid paddler it might be a no brainer to choose this option! Below are a number of public sites to launch from They are listed from shortest to longest paddling distances. Kayaks can be rented from WWU’s Outdoor Center.
Guemes Island Resort, Young’s Skagit County Park, to ViQueen Lodge (4 miles)
Costs to consider:
Guemes Island Ferry $15.00/vehicle including 1 passenger, $5.00 per additional passenger
Overnight parking Guemes Island Resort ($5.00/Night) CALL AHEAD! 360-293-6643
For the shortest paddle you may choose to take a ferry from Anacortes to Guemes Island. This will cost you $6.00 for a vehicle and 1 passenger. Additional charge of $3.00 per passenger that you have. It is approximately a 5 minute crossing.
Young’s Skagit County Park provides a nice launching point from the Northeast side of the Island. At the south side of Guemes Island Resort, tucked away is Young’s Skagit County Park and while there is no overnight parking at the public beach, Guemes Island Resort which is connected to Young’s Park, offers overnight parking for $5.00 a night. Call ahead to ensure parking is available!
From here you will want to ensure that you have checked your tide charts and weather to ensure a smooth paddle over to ViQueen Lodge! The biggest challenge will be crossing the Bellingham Channel depending on the time of day and what the tides are doing. The total paddling distance is around 4 miles. Anticipate 1-3 hours of paddling depending on tide and paddling ability!
Washington Park (Anacortes) Boat Launch to ViQueen Lodge (10 miles)
Costs to Consider:
Overnight parking Washington Park $10.00/night
Daily launch fee $7.00
Washington Park is located on the Western side of Anacortes. Here they have an excellent public boat launch that accommodates overnight parking.
From Washington Park you can expect around a 10-mile paddle. Anticipate 2-6 hours for paddling depending on tides and paddling ability! You will have 2 primary route options. These are via the East side (Bellingham Channel) or West side (Rosario Strait) of Cypress Island. Depending on wind speed and direction, generally the East side will be the preferred side to travel on. It offers a number of island features to tuck into for your paddling experience.
Wildcat Cove (Bellingham) Boat Launch to ViQueen Lodge (11 miles)
Costs to Consider:
Discovery Pass: Daily $11.50 Annual $35.00
Overnight parking: $10.00/night
Launching/Retrieval fee: $5.00
If you are departing from Bellingham this will be the closest public launch site available. This also comes with the greatest paddling distance. With that said, it is also a rewarding paddle that can be broken into a few sections if you choose to stop at Vendovi Island Preserve located about ¾ of the distance to ViQueen Lodge.
Near Larrabee State Park you will head down to Wild Cat Cove to launch your kayak. To launch from this site, you must display a Washington State Discovery Pass and pay their launching fee. Overnight parking is also available.
For paddling, be aware that if you chose to cross from Wild Cat Cove, you will experience the greatest amount of open water while crossing between Samish and Bellingham Bays until hitting Vendovi Island.
Personal Water Craft
Currently ViQueen is not equipped with a mooring buoy. Therefore, personal watercrafts are not permitted at this time.
Costs to consider:
Charter $34-$45/one way per person
Parking $7.50/night in Skyline Marine Center Lot
Free on-street parking (limited)
If you plan to take a charter to Sinclair Island you will likely be traveling to Flounder Bay on the Western Side of Anacortes. Some may be familiar with the Washington State Ferry Terminal, if so, this is NOT where you will depart from! Keep driving past the turn off for the State Ferry until you hit Skyline Way. Here you will take a left and head down to Skyline Marine Center where you will meet with your charter captain. Ensure that you make your reservations well in advance to ensure your spot and availability.
When taking one of the charter services, you will want to ensure to give yourself at least 30 minutes arrival before departure to allow for enough time to take gear down to the dock and to park your vehicle.
Taking a chartered ride out to Sinclair Island is the easiest way to get to the Island if you do not own your own watercraft. There are a couple companies that run daily charters to several of the islands that are not serviced by the Washington State Ferry System. Our go-to charter services are the Island Express charters and Paraclete Charter Service. Essentially, they offer the same services. It is best to call them for their current schedule and availability.
Island Express Charters will generally drop you off directly at the ViQueen Lodge beach. If you choose to go with Paraclete, they generally drop off on the South Cove beach and you will have to walk approximately 5 minutes to the ViQueen Lodge along the access trail. This is due to the type of charter that they use.
There are 3 bedrooms in the lodge.
Room 1 - Two Single Beds (2 People)
Room 2 - One bunk bed (2 people)
Room 3 - Two bunk beds (4 people)
This is the main part of the cabin. The large living/dining area has an ample amount of room for guests to relax and eat meals. There are several chairs and along with a mix of tables to meet your groups needs.
There is one wood fired stove to keep the cabin warm on cold nights. Firewood is stocked inside the cabin, and we ask that guests bring lighting materials such as newspaper and their own lighters/matches.
The kitchen is fully stocked with all the kitchenware that you will need for most meals. In the kitchen there is a 4-burner propane stove with oven. There is also a fridge/freezer for storing food. The sink is located on the back porch and clean for drinking water though you may choose to bring your own drinking water from the mainland.
There is an on demand outdoor shower on site. The shower is located in the back portion of the property off the maintenance shed with the solar panels on it. If you choose to use this shower, we request that you use bio-friendly based products only.
There is an outhouse on site at ViQueen Lodge with 2 separate stalls.
In the bedroom off of the kitchen there is a wide variety of board games available. In addition, there are several yard games that can be set up!
ViQueen is currently open for Western affiliated groups including WWU organized student groups and WWU departmental groups. No private use accepted at this time.
Creating a Reservation
So you are ready to go! To begin the reservation process please fill out the form linked below. Once submitted the Viking Union Reservations office will follow up with your reservation details.
Daily Usage Fees
WWU Organized Student Group - $25 Per Night
WWU Department Special Event - $80 Per Night
- WWU Organized Student Group- Formalized student groups/clubs
- WWU Department Special Event- Formal departmental outing for student/faculty/staff groups
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE AT VIQUEEN LODGE IS 10 guests. Exemptions may be approved on limited basis upon special request. If exemption is not approved, your group size may not exceed 10 guests.