Oyster Dome

A moderate day hike just south of Bellingham in the Chuckanut Mountains. The trail heads steeply up Blanchard Mountain to reach a viewpoint and some bat caves. Continue on to North Butte and/or loop back past Lily Lake and the Samish Overlook to extend your trip.

getting there

From Bellingham: Take Exit 250 off of I-5 south of Bellingham and turn west onto Old Fairhaven Parkway. Drive 0.1 mile, turn left onto 30th St and drive 1 mile (30th St becomes 32nd St).  Turn right onto Old Samish Rd, drive 0.6 mile, turn left onto Chuckanut Drive (SR-11) and drive 11 miles south to the  Oyster Dome Trailhead (200 ft).

From Mount Vernon: Take Exit 231 off of I-5 north of Mount Vernon and drive 10 miles north on Chuckanut Drive (SR-11) to the Oyster Dome Trailhead (200 ft).

on the trail

Hike the Pacific Northwest Trail for 1.5 miles and then left on the Samish Bay Connection Trail. In a half mile, stay right and then a half mile later turn left and continue on to Oyster Dome. It's 6.5 miles round trip with 1,900 feet of elevation gain to a high point of 2,025 ft.

Loop Return Option: Consider taking Max's Shortcut which will let you loop back past Lily Lake and the Samish Overlook on the Pacific Northwest trail. This adds about 2 miles to your trip.

Extend Your Trip: Consider continuing on to North Butte, a much less visited and crowded viewpoint, about a mile from the Oyster Dome-Samish Connector Trail junction. Hiking this as a loop is 10 miles with 2,500 feet of elevation gain and a high point of 2,220 ft.


  • The bat caves near Oyster Dome are quite hazardous. Enjoy them from a distance.
  • Hang gliders and paragliders take off from the Samish Overlook when the wind is favorable.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft
  • 2,025 ft
  • Land Manager: Blanchard Forest
  • Parking Permit Required: Discover Pass
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Bellingham South
  • USGS Bow
  • Trails of the Chuckanut Mountains
  • Chuckanut Mountain Recreation Map

Upcoming Activities

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Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Oyster Dome & North Butte
  • Oyster Dome-Samish Overlook Loop
  • North Butte-Samish Overlook Loop
  • Oyster Dome-North Butte-Samish Overlook Loop

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