Barrel Springs Rd.
Every day Dawn - Dusk
Blanchard Mountain is not a ride for the faint-of-heart or the out-of-shape, unless you're a little crazy and stupid -- like myself. This ride might be a little better as a day hike instead of a ride -- unless you're an absolute stud, you'll be pushing your bike at least half of the way up the mountain.
The entire trail is single track, up hill, with plenty of rocks and roots. If you're able to persevere through the climb, the rewards at the end are well worth the hard work. At the very top of the mountain is the Oyster Dome amphitheater, a 200-foot cliff above the Bat Caves with a sweeping view of Chuckanut Bay, Skagit Valley and the San Juan Islands. A campsite is available at the Oyster Dome or at Lily Lake if you want to spend a lot of time up here. If not, I would recommend at least three hours for this ride -- you'll want to take some time to take in the view.
To get to the Blanchard Mountain trailhead, take I-5 exit 240 and head west. Turn left on Barrel Springs Road then right after a mile onto a gravel road marked with a "Blanchard Mountain Trail" sign. Follow the gravel road past the first parking area and the first sign for the trail, staying to the right at the fork. You will see the trail registration station at the trailhead on the left side of the road. Park off to the right in the lot past the trailhead. Follow the trail for about three miles, staying to the right at the first two turns. When you get to the sign for Lily and Lizard lakes, follow the sign to the left to Lily Lake. Once you get to the Lily Lake turnoff (1,000 meters past the sign), you can turn right to go to the lake or continue straight to the Oyster Dome. Take the next right turn, it will be marked as "ROCK oyster dome." You're almost there. Follow the trail the rest of the way up to the most spectacular views in the area.
To get to the Blanchard Mountain trailhead, take I-5 exit 240 and head west on Lake Samish Rd. Turn left on Barrel Springs Road then right after a mile onto a gravel road marked with a "Blanchard Mountain Trail" sign.
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San Juan Islands