Looking to escape the winter storm warnings and for a change of scenery, we ran to the Chuckanut Mountains on the Puget Sound coastline. The drive was about an hour and half from Issaquah to better weather. This hike featured 180 degree views of the Puget Sound and magical mossy forests.
Distance: 5 miles, RT
Gain: 1050 feet
Dogs: Allowed on leash
Permit: Discovery Pass
Getting to the trailhead is a little confusing as there’s a couple different places hikers park to get to the trailhead, but Washington Trail Association (WTA) recommends starting from the Samish Overlook parking area (Discover Pass required). It’s safer to park in compared to the busy highway below and the hike is a little easier and more pleasant. On a plus side, the views from the parking lot are a bonus (below)!
From the trailhead, head northwest on a section of the Pacific Northwest Trail. In 0.4 miles, descend 190 feet to the junction with the Samish Bay Connector and turn right.
The trail switches back gradually crossing over a couple small creeks on the way there. When we were hiking, there was a fresh dusting of snow all over the ferns and rocks which created a pretty scene.
The trail was quiet for most of the hike up to the top, and we saw many more people on our way down.
During the steeper sections (towards the end), we put on our spikes to give us some extra traction on the icy parts and we were very thankful for that.
After the larger creek crossing, the trail climbs steeply for the last portion before you arrive at the promontory. From Oyster Dome, you can see the Skagit River flats and Anacortes to the left. In addition, Lummi Island is at the foreground of your view, with Orcas Island in the background on the right. Samish Bay is below the dome, and in the distance are Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains.