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Lily Lake Loop

Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area
48.6097, -122.4259 Map & Directions
5.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1,360 feet
Highest Point
2,025 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
A frozen Lily Lake. Photo by Rachel Wendling. Full-size image
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage
  • Coast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
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This strenuous uphill climb leads to big-payout views of the San Juans from Oyster Dome before visiting tranquil Lily Lake. Continue reading

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Hiking Lily Lake Loop

This strenuous uphill climb leads to big-payout views of the San Juans from Oyster Dome before visiting tranquil Lily Lake.

Start out on the Pacific Northwest Trail, at the northwest corner of Samish Overlook. At the first junction, head straight onto the Samish Bay Connector and begin a steep ascent through heavy tree cover; there are level sections that will allow you to catch your breath.

Tall cedars and pines shade the hillside, while ferns and berry bushes create thick brush on the forest floor. At 1.5 miles, the trail branches right to Lily and Lizard lakes or left to Oyster Dome. Head left to Oyster Dome, crossing a stream before taking on the last steep 0.25 mile of trail. At the top, stunning views of the San Juans—and on clear days the Olympics— make a great backdrop for this popular picnic spot.

When you’re ready to continue, head back down the hill to the junction and veer left for the lake. The trail is an easy walk next to a stream and past marshlands. At a three-way intersection, turn left before Lily Lake comes into view. In the summer months, the edges of this small lake are blanketed by eponymous yellow waterlilies.

Backcountry campsites are located on both sides of the lake, and a fire pit with benches offers a perfect snack spot. After a rest, continue back to the signed junction. Turn left, then immediately right for Max’s Shortcut.

Winding gently downhill for just about a mile, the trail then meets up with the Larry Reed Trail. Stay right at this junction and cross a logging road before arriving back at Samish Overlook, just another mile away.

WTA Pro Tip: Extend your hike another mile by returning on the alternate Lily Lake Trail.

WTA worked here in 2020 and 2019!

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Lily Lake Loop

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.6097, -122.4259 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From I-5, take exit 240 (Alger) and head west on Lake Samish Road. Take the first left onto Barrel Springs Road and travel 0.6 mile, to where there is a sign reading “Blanchard Forest Block”. Turn right on the dirt road and travel another 1.7 miles to a sign for “Samish Overlook”. Turn left and pass through the yellow gate (open one hour before sunrise to one hour past sunset) and continue 2.2 miles to the Samish Overlook Day Use Area.

There is parking for 20 vehicles (day use only.) There are vault toilets, picnic tables and benches. A Discover Pass is required.

More Hike Details


Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Guidebooks & Maps

South Chuckanut Square One

Blanchard Forest and Chuckanut Mtn Trail Systems DNR PDF Map:

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Lily Lake Loop

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