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Oyster Dome

Feb 02, 2011

by Janice Van Cleve last modified Feb 03, 2011 09:41 AM
Type of Outing
Day hike
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: Oyster Dome
Region: Puget Sound and Islands -- North Sound
Agency: Department of Natural Resources, Northwest Region
Avg Rating: 3.81
Be Aware Of
San Juan Islands from Oyster Dome
Oyster Dome trailhead on Chuckanut Drive is only 1.5 hours from Capitol Hill, even at 8 am in the morning. This is a wonderful hiking and exploration opportunity in the spring when the Cascades are threatened with avalanches, storms, or simply sloppy with mud. Oyster Dome trail is completely clear of snow. There are a few blowdowns and some mud holes that need turnpikes, but on the whole the trails are in great shape.

The trailhead is nothing more than a sign at the side of the road. The trail starts right out gaining altitude. At about a mile there is a junction to a lookout but if you stay on the main trail you do get to a nice park bench with an even better view. The trail continues on a long loop around the first mountain, crossing some small drainages before beginning some serious rocky ascents. The steepest is up Oyster Creek. Along the way is a side trail to so-called "bat caves." These are nothing more than a cluster of huge boulders that have fallen off of Oyster Dome above. Maybe bats lived there once. The rickety wood bridge to get there is exciting.

At the top of the long steep climb is cable junction (so named because of all the heavy steel cables left there from logging operations. To the right is a very pleasant 15 minute level walk to Lily Lake. This is a pretty, quiet spot rarely visited with lots of camping opportunities and even the remains of an old abandoned cabin. To the left is the route up to the top of Oyster Dome.

There are many other little side trails and exploration paths in these hills worth a try. The best coffee afterwards is in a charming little bakery in Edison, just south on the Skagit plains.
Charming Lily Lake
One of several mudholes - this one with its own blowdown
A cow Viking boat on Chuckanut Drive
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