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BLANCHARD MOUNTAIN: The Oyster Dome from the Samish Overlook


A Skagit County hike


This hike utilizes that part of the PNT between the Samish Overlook, the Oyster Dome Trail, Max’s Shortcut, and the Larry Reed Trail.

NOTE: This hike can not be done as described if a logging operation has the B-2000 Road blocked. See below.

Data: This 6 mile loop with a total elevation gain of about 900 feet is all on trail. 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. SWITMO rates this as a moderate hike. SWITMO helps maintain those sections of the PNT that cross Blanchard Mountain. WA State Discover Pass required to drive on DNR Roads and to park at the trailhead.

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 Bay Connector.

Driving Instructions: From I-5 take the Alger exit #240. Drive west on Lake Samish Road about one mile and turn left onto Barrel Springs Road. In a mile or so turn right onto a logging road. There should be signs here that indicate Blanchard Mountain Trail. This is the start of logging road B-1000. This area was clear-cut in about 2008. Continue on the B-1000 Road, going up hill a bit, curving around, and passing a trailhead on your right. There is a toilet facility here; there is no toilet facility at the trailhead. Continue on the B-1000 Road, winding around, slightly uphill. You will come to the B-2000 Road on your left. Turn LEFT onto the B-2000 Road and continue to its end at the Overlook. The Overlook area has been improved. It has an asphalt parking lot, a toilet facility, benches, hitching posts for horses, and areas from which the hang gliders jump.

Hike Description:

  • To begin the hike, cross the parking area in a northwesterly direction and look for the obvious trail head. Follow this section of the PNT to the first switchback.

  • At this switchback, go STRAIGHT AHEAD onto the Samish Bay Connector Trail. This Samish Bay Connector and the steep part we call “The Wall” will be improved under the direction of the DNR and the PNTA.

  • Hike the Samish Bay Connector, climbing “The Wall” and come out onto a wide intersection with the Oyster Dome Trail 1.9 miles from the Overlook.

  • At this three-way intersection, go LEFT and climb steeply to the Oyster Dome.

  • When ready to leave the Oyster Dome, return to the three-way intersection and continue straight ahead on the PNT which will take the hiker to Lily Lake. Do not descend “The Wall”, the way you came up, unless that is your intent. From this intersection it is one mile to the Lily Lake Trail junction on an old railroad bed; one crosses the stream that comes from Lily Lake along the way. If one wishes to go to Lily Lake, go LEFT at this junction. The hiker may also wish to take the trail to North Butte which continues on beyond Lily Lake.

  • When ready to leave the Lily Lake area, continue a few feet on the PNT and find a wide intersection on the right which is the beginning of Max’s Shortcut. Go RIGHT on Max’s Shortcut following the old railroad grade. The trail will then descend and intersect with 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.

Source: USGS

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