Backpack - Cedar Lake


Backpack - Cedar Lake

ALUMNI BACKPACK from North Chuckanut Trailhead to Pine and Cedar Lakes via Chuckanut Ridge. Explore the Chuckanut Mountains (the only place the Cascades meet the Salish Sea) on this gentle one-night backpack to Pine and Cedar Lakes with lush early summer greenery, interesting glacially scoured sandstone formations and peekaboo views of the Cascades and Puget Sound. This is a relaxed pace style trip. Please note: spots on this trip are reserved for B3 or Tacoma Intro to Backpacking graduates for the first 3 weeks after registration opens (all may register 3 weeks later on April 21).

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,075 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 1,675 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 - 2 mph

We’ll  meet at the North Chuckanut Parking Lot at 9 am on Saturday, June 8.

Note this is a busy area and like all trailheads, please be cognizant of risk of break-in and avoid leaving any valuables in your car.  (*Officially no overnight parking at this lot but I’ve never had an issue and I’ve conferred with the Bellingham Police parking sergeant who notes that this lot has no designated enforcement and they didn’t expect we’d have an issue,  they estimated a fine of $15-20 if it were to be enforced. Should this be a concern, parking at the Pine/Cedar County lot about 5 minutes away could be arranged with a carpool to the North Chuckanut lot with a correspondingly slightly earlier meeting time.)

Carpooling is encouraged.

Charming pair of low elevation lakes (1600 feet) will be our destination. With luck, we’ll nibble on salmonberries, enjoy owl calls and frog chorus. Option to explore nearby knob for views of the Sound to the west and higher Cascade peaks to the east in the afternoon/long summer evening or meander around the boardwalk of these lakes after camp is set up. Accessible and minutes away from Bellingham, this area is frequently day hiked but infrequently backpacked. It is an early season trip and a good opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our gear and how to stay comfortable in early season wet or cold conditions.  I will have a large rain tarp available and will offer a shared cheese/cracker/crudité-style appetizer for us all to enjoy if desired. Bring your own beverage of choice (but I as the trip leader will bring my own EANAB).

  • Our route on Gaia and  CalTopo.  We’ll hike about 5 miles each way starting at the North Chuckanut TH via the Interurban Trail and branches of the Hemlock and Huckleberry trails, returning via a different route in a large “popsicle” style loop. Cedar Lake has a large forested camping site (our intended destination) but if needed we may camp at sites at Pine Lake or a smaller site at Cedar Lake.
  • Gear Notes   Bears do live in the Chuckanuts so bear canister or Ursack+Opsak or cord to hang a sack is required. No toilet facilities at the lakes so plan accordingly. See suggested packing list in the Required Equipment tab.
  • NOAA weather at Cedar Lake
  • This is a group trip and I expect participants to stay together on the trail, actively engage with each other and support each other on the trail.  I will aim to lead in a collaborative style keeping both group and individual physical and emotional safety in mind, but I will also be prepared to make a final decision should issues arise.
  • Additionally this is considered a "relaxed pace" trip and best if you are comfortable with enjoying a hike at a slower pace (probably in the 1.5-2 miles per hour  range).
  • Registration Trip does not require leader permission but as noted previously, this is a Alumni Backpack for B3 and Tacoma Intro Backpacking course graduates so if you are not a graduate of these courses, please do not register until 3 weeks after registration opens (4/21/2024).

I’ll send out an email about a week in advance with any updates and final details. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions.


Pine & Cedar Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

Please individualize to fit your own style and predicted weather but please keep LNT principles as well as individual and group safety and comfort in mind.

Packing List (Gear) 
Backpack + whistle
Sleeping bag/quilt + pad
Tent or bivvy
Water bottle/bladder 1-2 liters
Water purification/filter
Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat)
Hiking pole(s)  (optional)
Bug protection 
Pocket knife or multitool
First aid kit 
*Everyone's personal first aid kit should include personal meds, a small ACE type wrap, Tylenol + ibuprofen for small injuries, band aids, blister management (Moleskin/tape for hot spots  or my preferred is a hydrocolloid such as Band-Aid Hydroseal for open sores). Trip leader will have a more substantial First Aid kit.
Personal hygiene (TP/Kula cloth, wipes, toothbrush/paste, spade, bag to carry out paper waste,  gender specific items)
Gaia or CalTopo app on phone with downloaded maps of area 
*All with cell phones should have a navigation app on their phone, trip leader will also have a paper map.
Cell phone/camera/battery pack (optional)
Reading material/cards/games (optional)
Sit pad or chair (optional)
Packing List (Food)
Ursack + Opsak or bear canister or rope/bag for a bear hang required
Breakfast x1 days
Lunch/snacks x 2 days
Dinner x 1 nights
Electrolyte powder (optional)
Packing List (Clothing)  
Hiking boots or hiking shoes
Camp shoes/water shoes (optional)
Hiking socks (wool or synthetic)
Hiking Gaiters (optional)
Short or long sleeve shirt
Long sleeve sun protection shirt
Hiking pants 
Rain protection 
Puffy layer (Down or synthetic) + midlayer
Long underwear or base layer (which can also be a sleeping layer)
Hat if no hood on warm layer

Trip Reports