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Easter Hike on Oyster Dome and Lily Lake


Oyster Dome to Lily Lake

We've apparently unofficially made it a point to do a decent sized hike on Easter apparently. Like most holidays, Easter isn't one we really celebrate, so we use it as an excuse to get a good first spring hike in. Our very first spring hike together was Rickett's Glenn in Pennsylvania back in 2017! In fact it was my first time actually hiking in general. Sure I played in the woods as a child, but never "hiking". It definitely made an impression on me. Then once COVID started there was that desperate need to get out and do something, so hiking and getting outside became my new favorite thing to do. Haven't stopped since. Anyway...

It was a beautiful day to drive up to northwestern Skagit County for a hike. Those Bellinghammers are lucky to have such beautiful places so close to them. This is only like 30 minutes south of Bellingham. We had to drive nearly an hour and a half from Seattle. 

Our walking map from the trails. About 9 ish miles and 1550 feet of elevation gain overall.


In the Blanchard State Forest on Blanchard Mountain sits Oyster Dome. There are numerous trails in the area surrounding Oyster Dome. We started from the Blanchard Mountain Upper Trailhead. There is an Oyster Dome trailhead if that is your only destination, but we wanted a longer hike and wanted to visit Lily Lake as well. As such we took the Lily Lake Trail which links up with the Pacific NW trail.

There was a vault toilet at the Blanchard Mountain Upper trailhead, thankfully! Those who pound a coffee on the drive in will be rewarded! There are several other trails in this area, to get where we wanted we had to back track ever so slightly down the road we came. 

Western Skunk Cabbage -- Swamp lantern at the trailhead
On our walk down the side of the road had flowing water and these cool Western Skunk Cabbage flowers growing in it!

Lily Lizard Trail
Lily Lizard Trail Sign (there's a lot of intertwined trails here!)

Flowers blooming in the PNW
Flowers are starting to bloom. It's spring! I believe this is a nascent Salmonberry popping out!

Along the trail
The trail starts and continues into beautiful forest as you work your way through. The first mile or so gains slight elevation as you walk mostly along and parallel to the road we came in from. This is where we found out the trail is shared with mountain bikers (and there are mountain bike only trails as well!) We had let an older couple in much better physical shape than us pass on their bikes! Haha

Bridge over a stream
If there's a bridge, I'm there. Bridges are like waterfalls, I'm all about it. Let's cross this creek.

After crossing the bridge
Worth crossing a bridge for I'd say!

Forested area beauty
Early spring trees about to spring with life

PNW forest
This is what the PNW is all about. Lush evergreen forests. Love it.

Mossy trees
The mossy trees are my weakness. So cool looking

Split Rock on the trail
This big boulder was split in two! I wonder what happened?

Lily Lake / Samish Overlook
Lily Lake or Samish Overlook? Several Trail crossings had NATO Phonetic Alphabet named points in case of emergency. This was Point X-Ray. Imagine my surprise when we passed Whiskey Point!

Max's Shortcut Lily Lizard
A legal shortcut. Will you take it? I think we did

Big Mossy Boulder
It was a beautiful day, but if a storm came through, take solace and comfort under this massive mossy boulder!

Red Belt Conk
I'm no master of fungi, but we sure do have a lot of Red-Belted Conks huh?

Trail Signage
Oyster Dome, Samish Overlook, Chuckanut Drive

View from Oyster Dome
And now for the main attraction! Oyster Dome! What an incredible view from up here.

Another View from Oyster Dome
We certainly came here on a BEAUTIFUL day. The Samish Bay, San Juans, Olympics, Skagit River Flats, are all visible on a perfect day. With good gear, who knows how much more you can see. I over heard someone say it reminds them of Acadia National Park, and it really does. Such a great spot. There were people laying on the rock flats sunning, sleeping, snacking, commiserating. There were even some dogs just chilling in the sun at the top. 10/10 would hike again!  

Someone woman was taking a picture of herself holding an IPA. I gotta start doing that. We just ate a bar and continued on. It wasn't time to go home until we at least hit up a lake too, so we went to Lily Lake!

Blachard Forest Block map
Hey look a map! This would've come in handy earlier!


Is this the lake? No, just a little bit of wetlands!

Little waterfall stream
A cute little waterfall stream on the trail to Lily Lake

Mossy boulders bro
Another huge massive gigantic moss covered boulder on the way to Lily Lake!



Stream crossing over rocks
Getting closer to Lily Lake. Gotta cross a stream over some strategically placed rocks!

Lily Lake
Lily Lake! Underwhelming? Nah it's a cute lake surrounded by beautiful forest.

Lily Lake
Lily Lake side view

Lily Lake Camp
There are camping areas at Lily Lake. To the left, Hiker Camping. To the right... Horse Facilities and Horse Camping. I gotta be honest, I'm pretty ignorant on the subject of horse camping so for now I'll just continue to laugh at the thought until I educate myself.

The Horn Mountain Biking
One of the mountain biking trails on Blanchard Mountain. UNAVOIDABLE extreme obstacles. That almost makes it sound like you have to plow through something to pass. Hats off to you mountain bikers, I wish I had the boulders, the...stones, to do stuff like this.

Rick Rolled Mountain Bike Trail
Rick Rolled Mountain Biking Trail. They even have good humor. 

We headed to a brewery afterwards of course. On the way down from Blanchard Mountain we saw a house with a sign saying SAVE BLANCHARD MOUNTAIN! Curiously I had to look into it.

Blanchard Mountain was essentially spared from logging through extensive community engagement and strategic negotiations. Blanchard Mountain faced threats of logging due to its status as state trust land. Thanks to collaborative efforts involving Conservation Northwest, partner organizations, and significant public advocacy, the area was preserved by securing necessary funding through legislative support, thus protecting its trails, forests, and habitats for future generations

 District Brewing -- Mt. Vernon WA

Mt Vernon - District Brewing

After the hike we were exhausted, with all the connector and alternate trails, we did about 9 miles, and after hiking yesterday too, we were ready to just sit and have a beer. We checked out District Brewing on the way home in Mt. Vernon,WA. 

District Brewing IPA
Of course I got an IPA, right?
They were pretty good. We each got our own beer and then shared a pilsner. We didn't want to have too much and ruin all those precious calories we burned, ey?


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