Some say that the Chuckanut Mountains are the only place where the Cascades meet the sea. Others disagree. Whatever the case, Chuckanut and Blanchard stand triumphantly over Samish Bay, offering spectacular views of the San Juan Islands. It is here, atop Blanchard Mountain, that Oyster Dome’s 200-foot rock cliff overlook awaits.
Hikers can thank Conservation Northwest and other local organizations for protecting Blanchard Mountain from a logging threat in 2006. Rusty cables lie beside the trail in places, a sobering reminder to users. The trail is also flanked by enormous boulders, and you'll find an interpretive sign discussing the area's Ice Age geological history. Watch for soaring eagles and hawks above, and look for chipmunks and garter snakes below. Owls have even been spotted on the trail after dark.
Oyster Dome is not an easy hike. Gaining approximately 2,000 feet in 3 miles, the trail is steep, rocky, and full of roots. Any work on the trail is well worth the reward at the top, however. Panoramic views atop the dome span from Skagit County flats to Canada’s Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains. From here, watching the sunset over Samish Bay is breathtaking. If you do hike out at dusk, bring a flashlight. It’s a long way down!