Distance: 6.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain: 1900 feet. Amazing views of Samish Bay and the surrounding San Juan Islands. Bald eagle spottings.

The trail begins on the Pacific Northwest Trail, which ascends quickly up the side of Blanchard Mountain. The trail contains several switchbacks which wind through second-growth alder, Western red cedar, and Douglas fir forest.

After about one mile there is an overlook with a bench that offers a great glimpse of the San Juan Islands (a great preview of the view to come), which is a great place to take a quick break and hydrate. Continue on through the forest another one-half mile to a junction where the Pacific Northwest Trail continues up and to the right. Stay to the left on the Samish Bay Connector trail.

After another one-half mile the trail begins to steepen. After approximately 1.5 miles after leaving the Pacific Northwest Trail, you will arrive at a junction with a trail to Lily and Lizard Lakes. To continue on to Oyster Dome, take a left at the junction, and follow the trail another one-quarter mile. This is the point at which the scramble begins. The trail climbs steeply, crosses a creek, and heads left on the Rock Trail.

One-tenth of a mile past the creek crossing, you will emerge from the forest onto the ledge of Oyster Dome. Lummi Island and Orcas Island are off in the distance, with Samish Bay right below. Off in the distance are Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains as well. You may even get lucky and spot a bald eagle or two circling overhead the forest below.

Directions:

  • From Mount Vernon, take I-5 north to exit 231 for Chuckanut Drive (SR-11). Follow Chuckanut Drive north 10.2 miles. The trailhead will be on your right, just past milepost 10.
  • There is no official parking lot and the trailhead can be easily missed so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to the right of the road where the trail begins.

Pack List

  • Discover Pass
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 6.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1900 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

almost 2 years ago

Good View at the End

This hike is nice and sometimes a little strenuous, but the view at the end and even part way up is really nice! You can see a lot of the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island from the top. Only go on a sunny day!

almost 2 years ago

Classic Gorgeous View!

One of the best 360 degree views that you'll find in Bellingham. A must-do!!

Popular Bellingham spot

It's a staple of Bellingham and is great to show friends from out of town the way the Puget Sound meets these hills. With a short hike, although steep at times, the views are not bad, just nothing to rave about. Certainly is a great trail for trail-running, but if you are used to mountain summits, this peek through the trees at the Puget Sound may feel like a bit of a let down.


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