Raptor Ridge ~ Pine Lake

Chuckanut Mountain

MARCH 29, 2009  It was sunny but cool when we left the trail head at Arroyo Park in Bellingham.  The Chuckanut Mountain trail system is a real gem, offering long hikes with decent elevation gain, great views and beautiful forest that changed frequently as the trail gained elevation.  The trails are well marked, and the signs that provide directions and mileage at every junction are easy to follow.  The old-growth forest was delightful, but we could hear the traffic on I-5 as we hiked steadily up.  We encountered a wide variety of conditions, from warm sun in the clearings, snow in the deep woods, and lots of mud everywhere.   Skunk cabbage is starting to bloom and mushrooms are pushing their way up through the light snow.     We met several hikers, joggers, horseback riders, dogs and mountain bikers along the trail.   Raptor Ridge was sunny and we enjoyed the views from the rock outcropping over a leisurely lunch.  It was sunny when we reached Pine Lake, but the woods there were very cold.  We spent a few minutes exploring the trails around the lake before starting our return trip.  We skipped the side trails to Cedar Lake, saving that for another trip. 

11.5 miles

1600' gain