• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1900 Feet

Forest
Scenic

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
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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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!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

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

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

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.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Another great accessible hike in WA state. If you have the opportunity, go on a clear day. You will be rewarded with an unparalleled view of the San Juan Islands. When you make it down the mountain, stop at the Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive. Fresh oysters and beer after a hike.... Sign me Up!!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Fabulous views of the Samish Bay enhanced by sunset. Killer hike!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

If you live in Bellingham its probable that you've heard of this hike, its definitely one of the best in the area and is located pretty close to town. If your up for the challenge try and plan to arrive around sunrise of sunset to see an amazing sunset over the San Juan Islands!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

This hike is rad when you arrive at sunset!

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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