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.
Lily Lake Loop
- 5.5 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1,360 feet
- Highest Point
- 2,025 feet
Hiking Lily Lake Loop
Lily Lake Loop
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.6097, -122.4259 Open in Google Maps