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Trip Report    

Bikepack - Lily & Lizard Lakes

Exploratory bikepack on singletrack trail with last minute route changes due to logging.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • In Blanchard Forest, we originally intended to go northward up the B-1000 and B1500 gravel roads to Service Trail and then some single-track to Lizard or Lily Lakes.  The Service Trail area was closed for logging, and it also affected the upper part of B-1000. There were logging trucks and logs in the road and it would have been a chore to carry a bike through all that.  A sign at the trailhead said that logging is expected to continue into


    Instead, from Blanchard Upper, we got onto the single track Lily Lizard Trail on the south side.  For the most part, it was bikeable with low gearing, and more appropriate for mountain gike vs gravel bike.  The trail was dry with some obstacles that needed to be hiked over, so there were good sections we pedaled, and short or steeper sections we pushed the bikes through.

    Weather was great!  We wanted a clear day so we could do side trips to Oyster Dome and Samish Overlook.

    The DNR map is at DNR Map of Blanchard Forest.  

Five of us bikepacked into Lily Lake to explore Blanchard Forest and visit the viewpoints.  It did not disappoint!  It wasn't a very long trip, but the elevation gain was worthwhile for conditioning purposes and the views were worthwhile for visiting on a nice day.  We'll have to do more route planning to see how we can make it longer. Stats:

Day 1:

  • 4.5 miles trailhead to camp.
  • 1400' gain.
  • 3.5 miles hiking around to Oyster Dome, Lizard Lake, and North Butte
  • About two hours from trailhead to camp.

Day 2:

  • 5 miles biking from Lily Lake to Samish Overlook and then back to trailhead.
  • 300' gain, 1400' loss.
  • About two hours worth of biking.

The Ride:

The single track trail is open to hiking, biking, and horses, so we were prepared for all. It starts just south of the Upper Trailhead parking lot.  That parking lot now has a pit toilet, and  room for maybe 10-20 cars.


The first section of Lily Lake Trail was fairly bikable.  A mountain bike is definitely preferred over a gravel bike.  There were some larger roots or rocks that we got off and hiked over.  The elevation gain was minimal until the first long switchback.  Then it gains in earnest, 400' over 3/4 mile.  We had to hike-a-bike the steeper sections of that. The upper part, above 1700' is rambly, still has some steep sections, and also more rooty and rocky obstacles.  Then we meet a junction with Lizard Lake trail at 2000'.  We turned left toward Lily Lake to claim a campsite.


Lily Lake has a "horse camp" that would make a good group camp.  It was taken over by Boy Scouts. We stayed at the hiker camp with about 7 campsites.  We used site 4 and fit five small tents in there.  It's in the trees with some openings to view the lake.  It is on the west slope of the lake.  North Butte shields it from getting much afternoon sun. 


20230520_123649.jpgLater, we visited Lizard Lake and there is a much more open set of campsites there.  Lizard is a deeper, cleaner lake, but the water out of Lily Lake was okay too (filtered of course).

After setting up camp and eating lunch, we decided to hike to Oyster Dome rather than riding the bikes.  The trail up to Oyster Dome is hiker-only anyway. We locked bikes to trees and hiked over.  It was a busy viewpoint with so many people hiking in from the Samish Overlook parking lot.  But the views were great and we lounged around in 70 degree weather for at least an hour.

(photo credit Nina Crampton)IMG_8442.jpg


Then we hiked back to camp, grabbed more water and snacks, and took a hike down to Lizard Lake.  That bypass trail between Lily and Lizard is not very bikeable.  It's very rough and tight and drops down.  If one were to bike between the lakes, there is a more gradual trail out and around to the east, the Lizard Lake trail.  Ivan took a swim in Lizard Lake, and the rest of us lounged around on a sunny beach, soaked our feet.



On the way back to Lily, we noticed a side trail to North Butte.  It is a high point just west of Lily Lake with viewpoints marked on the map.  It was time for dinner, so we ate, had tea, and then hiked up to North Butte for the sunset about 8-9 PM.  There is a cast iron bench installed on an overlook to the northwest that is the perfect place to see the sunset.  And that hike was not far at all from the Lily or Lizard campsites.


Day 2 we found ourselves in a misty, drippy cloud.  It came in from the Sound, soaked the trees and dripped over us and our tents as we had breakfast and packed up.  We chose to drop down via the Max Connector trail, hoping it wouldn't be too rough.  It wasn't.  It was quite bikable, downhill.  It would be a tough way to come up, being steeper than the Lily Lake trail.  We took it carefully, got a feel for how our brakes handled on steeper single-track, and joined up with the gravel road over to Samish Overlook.  By the time we were halfway down, the fog was clearing around us, and the sun began to come out again.

Samish Overlook has a parking lot and a pit toilet.  It is also where hang gliders or parasailers take off.  We had to take more photos and enjoy the scenery.

We decided to cruise back to the Upper Trailhead by way ofthe gravel road, rather than going back on the single track.  The single track would be an option, but would entail sections of hike-a-bike because of roots, rocks, and some uphill elevation gain before the final downhill section.  We were back to the cars about noon, and then went into Burlington to get all-day breakfast at the Riverside Cafe.