Oyster Dome ~ Lily Lake

Pacific Northwest Trail

FEBRUARY 28, 2009  It will be spring soon, but for now it is still winter at the higher elevations.  The tone of this hike was set miles from the trailhead, as I drove past fields filled with snow geese and pastures of inscrutable alpacas.  The drive along Chuckanut Drive usually includes sightings of bald eagles and herons, and this trip did not disappoint in that regard. 

This is one of my favorite winter hikes, and I come here when I'm tired of snowshoeing and longing for spring.   There were lots of well-behaved dogs on the trail, including one large mooch of a dog who wanted nothing more than to be adored by everyone he met.  The first 2 miles of the steep trail  to the Oyster dome were snow free and in good condition; the old-growth forest as beautiful and quiet as always.  Snow gradually took over the scenery shortly after the junction to Max's shortcut and Samish Overlook, becoming compacted and icy as the trail headed around the cold side of the mountain.  The payoff for the steep hike comes at the Oyster Dome lookout, where the sun peaked out of low-lying clouds and backlit the snow-capped Olympic Mountains beyond the many islands in the Sound and Strait.   After dining on a rock with a view, I headed towards Lily Lake.  The woods were snowy and quiet, and conditions were perfect for a winter hike.  From Lily Lake I took Max's Shortcut to the Samish Overlook for more views, then headed back to the trailhead. 

8 miles

2150' gain

The three views on this hike

Clear cut about 1.25 miles from the trailhead  Oyster Dome Samish Overlook