BLANCHARD MOUNTAIN TRAVERSE from Summerland Road to Chuckanut Drive
A Whatcom/Skagit County hike
A slideshow and video of the western part of this trail can be seen here.
The Pacific Northwest
Trail, PNT, crosses Blanchard Mountain from the Summerland Road south
of Lake Samish to near milepost 10 on Chuckanut Drive, WA State Route
11, a distance of 10 miles. The Summerland Road access is gated.
The Chuckanut Drive trailhead is right off of the road, south of the
Oyster Bar Restaurant.
Data: This 10 mile
traverse with an elevation gain of about 2000 feet is partly on
logging roads on the east end but most of the route is on trail. The
eastern part is on private logging company property. From the north
end of the British Army Trail to Chuckanut Drive the hiker is on WA
Department of Natural Resources, DNR, land. Please respect the
rights of the land owners/managers. The forest on Blanchard, except
for those portions in the DNR Conservation Area, is a working forest
and from time to time logging operations and road closures occur. To
check out logging operations and road closures, call the DNR office
in Sedro-Woolley at 360-856-3500. Because of the distance and
elevation gain, SWITMO rates this as a moderate to strenuous hike.
SWITMO helps maintain all of the trail sections of the PNT over
2013 note: The
B-2000 road to the Overlook is scheduled to be closed for a time
during the summer of 2013 for a logging operation. This logging
operation will also affect the route of the PNT on the western part
of the Larry Reed Trail. Once the logging operation is over, the
PNTA and SWITMO will be able to go in and rebuild the trail.
The protected route of
the PNT (that part that lies in the Conservation Area) that descends
from the Oyster Dome area on the Samish Bay Connector is currently
very steep at the outset—we call that area “The Wall”.
The PNTA will work with the DNR to determine the best way to
improve the trail in this area as well as other areas on the Samish
The hike will be
described from east to west, beginning at the gate off the Summerland
Road and ending near milepost 10 on Chuckanut Drive.
From I-5 take the Nulle Road Exit, #242. Go west on Nulle Road.
Nulle Road will change into Summerland Road; continue straight ahead
on Summerland Road. In about 0.5 mile look for a gated logging road
on the left. Park off to the side so as to not block the road.
westerly on the logging road. Look for white blazes. Stay left in
a short distance at the first intersection.
Keep to the main
line logging road. The logging road will go southwesterly then
westerly. Go left near a high pile of stumps (if the pile is
still there) and in a short distance Cross Bear Creek on a sturdy
bridge built for trucks.
On the far side of
the bridge, continue straight and uphill. Stay left at any forks,
going uphill. The logging road becomes an old caterpillar track
and then trail.
The trail will
come out onto a logging spur. Go RIGHT here and walk westerly a
short distance to another logging road.
At this logging
road, go LEFT, uphill. This will change into a trail that climbs
through the woods and comes out onto yet another logging spur.
Go RIGHT on this
spur to its intersection with a main logging road with is Road
B-1000. Turn LEFT, uphill, on this main road.
In about 0.1 mile
the B-1000 road will turn left; do not turn left but continue uphill
on the B-1600 Road.
Hike up the B-1600
Road for about 0.1 mile to the well-maintained entrance to the
British Army Trail. A unit of the British Army built this trail in
the 1990’s; they came over for some R&R to work on the
From this point on
the hiker is on DNR land. Go LEFT into the woods, climbing and
following the trail to Lizard Lake.
Follow the trail,
which is on an old railroad grade, along Lizard Lake. Past the
Lake aways the hiker will pass a trail on the left, which is the
Incline Trail that leads down to the B-1000 road on the east side of
The old railroad
grade trail will curve southwesterly and intersect the Lily Lake
Trail which is on the left. The Lily Lake Trail descends form here
down to a parking lot on the B-1000 Road on the south side of the
Continue past the
Lily Lake Trail and hike, still on the old railroad grade, to the
Lily Lake area. The hiker will come to an intersection, which is
the top of Max’s Shortcut. Now the hiker has some decisions
Descend on the PNT
from Max’s Shortcut to the Larry Reed Trail and then on to the
Overlook and then down to Chuckanut Drive. This route will be
closed if the logging operation is underway. See below.
Go straight ahead
to the Lily Lake junction and then go right on the Lily Lake trail
to Lily Lake itself and perhaps on to the North Butte view point.
Go straight ahead
to the Lily Lake junction and keep going straight ahead, going
westerly toward the Oyster Dome, taking the side trip to the Oyster
Dome and returning to Max’s Shortcut and then continuing on
down OR, after visiting the Oyster Dome, descend “The
Wall” on the steep trail at an obvious junction. See below.
Taking Max’s Shortcut down to the Overlook if the Larry Reed
Trail is not blocked by logging. Go southerly on Max’s
Shortcut following the old railroad grade. The trail will then
descend and intersect the Larry Reed Trail. Along this section of
trail the hiker will pass Ship Rock, a good spot for lunch if it is
raining. At the Larry Reed intersection, go RIGHT on the Larry
Reed Trail. Follow the Larry Reed Trail. It will cross the B-2000
road and continue on the other side. After hiking a short
distance, the hiker will come out at the Overlook. The Overlook
has toilet facilities, an asphalt parking lot, hitching posts for
horses, benches, and hang glider jumping off spots. Cross the
parking area in a northwesterly direction and find the signed
trailhead for the trail that descends in 2 miles to Chuckanut Drive,
10 miles from the Summerland Road.
Taking “The Wall” route, also known as the “Samish
Bay Connector” route down to Chuckanut Drive. Once the hiker
is ready to leave the Oyster Dome area, carefully descend “The
Wall”. The trail will lessen in steepness, even level out
some, and intersect with the main, well-maintained trail descending
from the Overlook at the first switchback below the Overlook.
Continue down the main trail to Chuckanut Drive, 10 miles from the
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