oyster dome trail
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SORRY I LOST THE PHOTOS – Plenty below this date though 🙂
With the weather barely hanging on it was time to get out once more before snowshoeing begins for the year. While I love the quietness of snowshoeing, having boots on the ground is so much easier. So, I headed to Oyster Dome trail for an easy day out.
This trail begins at an almost unnoticeable trailhead on the side of Highway 11, near milepost 10. Finding it can be difficult if the trail is empty. But most days it should be obvious from the long line of cars on the west side of Highway 11. Park south of the oyster bar.
Begin by climbing up the side of Blanchard hill. There will be 4 long switchbacks for about 1.9 miles to a trail junction. Go left at this point to stay on the main Oyster Dome trail which also accesses Lilly and Lizard lakes. Here the trail becomes a little more interesting as it crosses a couple of creeks, and passes a viewpoint. After about a mile, curves right and head straight up a large hill, reaching a plateau.
*This hill used to be the crux of climbing Oyster Dome Trail. It is no longer here thanks to recent trail work. There are now switchbacks all the way to the top.
At the plateau the trail forks once again. Take a left and you will head up to Oyster Dome on the trail.
I headed right to get a view of Lilly lake. From here it is 0.4 easy miles to the shores of the lake. Right now the entire forest surrounding the lake has 6 inches of snow. The snow left little area to sit and enjoy some lunch by Lilly Lake and so I headed toward Lizard lake.
The camping available at Lilly lake was of poor quality except for the last site as you go around the lake. If you walk around the lake 0.2 miles, the trail splits again. I headed right to take the shortcut between Lilly and Lizard lake. From here the trail drops down through the woods and comes out on the shore of Lizard lake. It is an easy 1 mile or so. Neither lake is something to rave about, but, they are a great way to add some miles to the Oyster Dome trail for the day.
After a brief stay at each Lilly and Lizard lakes, I headed back to the trail junction for Oyster Dome. From the plateau it is only a short 0.25 miles to the top of Oyster Dome where you will get an excellent view over Samish Bay. Finally finding a place to sit I got out my jet boil and heated up some cocoa to keep warm in the chilly wind. Even On a cloudy day there were quite a few people on top. There is plenty of room to spread out, but do not expect to be alone up there.
Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, there was a considerable amount of work done. They installed new switchbacks making some parts of the trail much more pleasant. They also added some quality signs to replace the old metal one with bullet holes at the trail junction. Oyster Dome trail is always a great hike even on a grey day like this one.
With six stitches in my left knee, but itching to get outside, I decided that the Oyster Dome trail would be an easy day out. Especially with weather warnings and a dismal avalanche forecast in the mix.
After not hiking here for a couple of years Oyster Dome trail has changed. There are many new switchbacks, saving hikers from the infamous hill that used to block the path. There is also a multitude of signs directing you to the top.
I still remember the first time I came to Oyster Dome Trail. The path was just a rough climbers trail and I didn’t even know if I was going the right direction. This time I attempted to find the supposed bat cave after standing on the top for a few minutes. I have never found the trail that I read about
For a rainy day, this was a good choice. Other than a few easy stream crossings, the trail is in good condition. It is also one of the only places currently lacking snow. Today was the worst view I have ever gotten from the top. It is the only time clouds have blocked off the entire view when I am up here. Still Oyster Dome trail is an excellent spot to watch the clouds flow and to enjoy a nice cup of rum-spiked cider.
It seemed time for my once a year ascent of Oyster Dome trail. So, Sam and I headed up there for a pre-Cinco-de-Mayo celebration.
It was the perfect day to catch the view, though the trail was heavy with hikers. The new sections of the Oyster Dome trail that volunteers built the past few years have changed it. The trail is far easier for the average hiker now. Though I do miss the famed hill that it used to have.
On this particular day we ran into a trail-crew that was building up a few more switchbacks before the top. A big thank you to all the volunteers that have contributed to these efforts.
The top of Oyster Dome trail was as wonderful as ever to enjoy. The view here never gets old. Rain sun or shine it is always engrossing.
After Oyster dome trail we still had some energy and so I took Sam to show her Lilly and Lizard lake. It was nice and secluded at Lilly Lake since the crowd is always drawn to the Oyster Dome trail.
We ended up stopping at Lilly lake and did not go on to lizard since Sam was craving Oysters. After the long hike back down Oyster dome trail we stopped at the Oyster Bar. Their food was excellent, but Hama Hama Oysters is still my favorite. If you are ever out near the Olympics, give them a try
With the trails starting to reopen I decided to take my nephew with me to Oyster Dome Trail for a day in the sun. Our arrival was late for this trail (10 am) and Chuckanut drive was already filled with cars. I still managed to find a parking space about half a mile south of the trailhead and felt lucky. After I parked there were multiple cars driving around looking for anywhere to park.
As always, get there nice and early if you want a spot. The trail to Oyster Dome had far more people than I felt comfortable with. But, considering that both of us have been sitting inside for months I felt it necessary to go ahead. Everyone on the trail was polite. We all kept our distance and wore masks as we passed.
The worst part of the whole thing was at the top of Oyster Dome trail. The viewpoint was crowded and as a result there was a line of hikers waiting for a spot. All of us spaced 6 feet apart. People were polite and left quickly to make space for all those waiting. Due to this we took very little time snapped one photo and then headed back down.
I made the decision to go towards Lilly lake on the way back down to the car. If you take the short cutoff trail and then go right when you reach the lake then there is a trail called Max’s Shortcut. Taking it will lead you around the side of Blanchard hill, to the Samish overlook and then back to the cars.