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.
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.
Directions to the TrailheadVIA 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 DescriptionThis 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.
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.