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Oyster Dome

Oyster Dome

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Oyster Dome

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.62732°N / 122.41436°W

Object Title: Oyster Dome

County: Skagit

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 2089 ft / 637 m


Page By: EastKing

Created/Edited: Sep 29, 2005 / Jun 14, 2014

Object ID: 166938

Hits: 11481 

Page Score: 75.81%  - 6 Votes 

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Staring for the Caves
The vertical cliffs of Oyster Dome!

Oyster Dome is a Chuckanut classic rock outcrop located near Bellingham. The rock outcrop only has 145 feet of prominence from the higher Blanchard Mountain but is the only drawback being on this summit. The stunning rock outcrop is home to incredible views of the San Juan Islands, the Puget Sound and into Canada. This would be an excellent sunset hike as the picture below will show. It is very popular year round and attraction people of all abilities and you will usually all different types people on this trail even if the weather is not great.

The San Juan Isiands from the...
View from Oyster Dome (from Duseks)

Oyster Dome can be approached as either a simple walk up or high Class 5 rock climb . Both options can be done on this excellent rock outcrop which is home to solid granite similar to nearby southern neighbor Mount Erie. The hike from the Puget Sound features a 6 mile; 1950 foot elevation gain hike to the top of the Dome with options for more is one is interested in summiting the highpoint of Blanchard Mountain as well. The elevation gain can be greatly reduced if the Samish Bay Overlook is open. As of the summer of 2013 this trailhead though was closed due to logging in the region. As soon as logging as done though they plan on reopening this option to Oyster Dome.

Another shot of the Puget Sound
Another shot from the Oyster Dome overlook

Directions to the Trailhead

VIA THE TRAILHEAD BY THE PUGET SOUND: From Duseks Head South from Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive (State Route 11) until just past milepost 10 (just past Chuckanut Manor). In a general sense remember that this hike is up Blanchard Mountain which is just south of Chuckanut Mountain (though they are really the same thing), so you will have driven past much of Chuckanut Mountain. The trailhead is on the East Side of the road and hard to see. Look for parked cars.

Route Description

This trail is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail which, in bits and pieces, goes all the way to the continental divide. This is its West terminus. For more info on the Pacific Northwest Trail Click Here. The trail switchbacks up for about a mile through dense forest, gaining about a thousand feet. At this point (and it is easy to miss) it forks. The right for leads to the Hang-Glider launch and excellent views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juans seen here . The Left fork takes you to Oyster Dome and the Bat Caves. Take the left for and follow the trail for another mile until you reach another fork this time the left fork will lead to the Bat Caves (where there is also a bolted sport climb, I'll add more info later), and the right for will take you to the famed views atop Oyster Dome seen here.

Oyster Dome Loop
Here is a map of the loop from the Samish Bay Overlook.

The Last section of trail is steep and can become trecherous when wet. The top of Oyster dome itself is a place to use caution. A fall from Oyster Dome is going to be fatal, be smart when you're up there. It is also possible to drive to the Samish Bay Overlook (hand gliders launching areas) and proceed from there. This cuts off a mile and a thousand feet of elevation gain. I will post info about how to do this as soon as I have it myself.

Handglider off the overlook
Handgliders launching off of the overlook

Essential Gear

What you gear you will bring will determine what you are doing. If you are just hiking up to the top of Oyster Dome than you will just want to bring essential hiking gear and sturdy shoes. However if you are rock climbing make sure that you have the proper gear for the potential route that you are doing. There are some routes on the Dome that rank up to 5.13 in difficultly so know your routes well.


Lily Lake is an established backcountry camping area located only a mile from the summit of Oyster Dome. Though lake can be popular on weekends being so close to Bellingham but would make a great introductory backpacking destination to anyone.

External Links

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to Duseks the original maintainer of this page for putting up this beautiful rock and overlook. 


The San Juan Isiands from the...From the overlook trailhead south of Oyster DomeNice cliff wallsStaring for the CavesOyster Dome LoopHandglider off the overlookAaron and Me on the summit
Another shot of the Puget SoundThe View from Oyster DomeView off the cliffsLooking toward the Puget SoundMore views of the ChukanutsThe Oyster Dome cliffs