Backpack - Chuckanut Ridge


Backpack - Chuckanut Ridge

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.

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  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.6 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,966 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 1,650 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 - 2 mph

We’ll  meet at the North Chuckanut Parking lot at 9 am ( 

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 Bellingham Police parking sergeant who notes that this lot has no designated enforcement and doesn’t expect we’d have an issue,  and estimated a fine of $15-20 if it were to be enforced. Should this be a concern for anyone, parking at the Pine/Cedar County lot about 5 minutes away could be arranged with a carpool to the North Chuckanut lot.)

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 boardwalk of these lakes after camp is set up. Accessible and minutes away from Bellingham, this area is frequently day hiked but infrequently backpacked.  This will be a mentored hike as part of my Backpack Leader certification. This is a great backpack for B3 students or beginner backpackers but is open to all.

We’ll hike about 5 miles each way. Start on the Interurban Trail, continue on the Hemlock /Huckleberry trails to Raptor Ridge (a likely lunch spot) and then to Cedar Lake.  Cedar Lake has a large forested camping site (our intended destination) but if needed we may camp at sites at Pine Lake or smaller site at Cedar Lake.

No toilet facilities at the lakes so plan accordingly.  Bears do live in the Chuckanuts so bear canister/Ursack or cord to hang a sack is necessary.

The next morning, we’ll hike return to the trailhead taking a different branch of the Hemlock trail.

Our route:

I’ll send out an email about a week in advance with any updates and final details.


Chuckanut Ridge & Mountain

  • USGS Bellingham South

    USGS Bow

    Trails of the Chuckanut Mountains

    Chuckanut Mountain Recreation Map
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which includes:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Water filter or water purification device
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with bowl and utensils
  • Toilet paper, shovel and bag to carry out toilet paper/wipes
Trip Reports