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North Butte via Chuckanut Trail

Bow, Washington

based on 1 reviews



7.71 miles

Elevation Gain

2047 ft

Route Type



Added by Niki Alden

Take this steep hike to see a perfect view of Northern Washington at North Butte. To your left stretches the Sound, dotted with the San Juan Islands, while to your right looms the Northern Cascades and Mount Baker. A great hike for those who want a better view - and more privacy - than Oyster Dome

The Hike
The hike there isn't short, has several steep sections, and ends at the top of the mountain. There are cliff warnings at the top, so be careful as you explore the view! The steepest portions are at the beginning and right at the end. The trail is very well maintained (because it is so popular) and safe. 

The Nature
Blanchard Mountain, as are many of the Chuckanuts, is a rôche moutonnée: an asymmetrical formation caused by the passage of a glacier over bedrock. (Now you can sound super fancy as you take your friends). The bedrock is a type of sandstone, with many geological formations to interest those who like rocks! 

The forest is an interesting place to explore. It has been established for many years as a state forest, though recently cutting has been happening on the other side of the mountain from the hike. There are portions of connecting trails that pass through the clear-cut areas, where you can watch the pattern of forest succession in progress. There are many native PNW plants (beware devils club and stinging nettle, and keep your eye out for huckleberries in the summer!) and birds, though few larger animals, perhaps due to the nearby clear-cutting and popularity of the hike. 

The Directions
Drive as if you were going to Oyster Dome! You can either head to the Samish Overlook (shorter hike, less elevation gain, Discover Pass required) or take the *recommended* route starting along Chuckanut Drive. 

Drive south on Chuckanut Drive. About .1 miles after the Oyster Bar (popular restaurant) there will be wide sections on the right shoulder to park on. Park here (make sure you're not in the lane!) and walk back to the trailhead. It's on the left side as you head south, and is fairly wide but not well-marked. Start hiking upwards from here. 

Follow signs for Oyster Dome and Lily/Lizard Lakes (left) until you see the sign where Oyster Dome and Lily/Lizard Lakes are pointing against each other. Follow the sign for Lily/Lizard Lakes (right) and keep hiking. 

When you reach Lily Lake, the path will divide in two: a dirt trail will take you to the left, and a small wooden bridge will take you to the right. A wooden sign tells you where the campsites are. Follow the path to the left and keep walking around the lake. Eventually, the path will seem to split in two, one that follows the hillside (left) and one that follows the lake (right). Follow the left path (which will eventually be called North Butte Trail) and hike to the top of North Butte! 

The Resources
Oyster Dome is a very popular hike, so you will see many people along the first portion of your adventure. Once you pass the cut-off for Oyster Dome the number of people you see will drop drastically! 

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North Butte via Chuckanut Trail Reviews

Wrong directions… don’t use google maps

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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