Photo Credit: Jamie Heeringa
Fragrance Lake, by its very name would beckon any hiker. Access is from either the Clayton Beach parking lot or the Fragrance Lake Trailhead on Chuckanut drive. The Clayton Beach lot affords ample parking with accessible restrooms but puts the hiker on a graveled logging road for a substantial distance. The preferred origin is the Fragrance Lake Trailhead across from the entrance to Larrabee State Park. There, the hiker is immediately enfolded in the ferned and forested coolness of the timberland. Lost Lake is best accessed from its trailhead at a spur off the Fragrance Lake trail. It’ll be a 3 mile trek from that point to Lost Lake, making the in and out mileage for your journey an ambitious 10 miles.
At the Fragrance Lake trailhead on Chuckanut, the path quickly bisects the interurban trail so proceed directly across it. Wooded gates at intervals make this a ‘Hikers Only, No Bicycles’ hike. It’s a 1.8 mile hike up to the lake through shaded forest. ‘Up’ is an aptly chosen directive. Some would say ‘steep’ but it’s more of a steady-drumbeat-of-an-ascent to the 1100’ elevation. Early in the hike you’ll be presented with a side route option to an overlook. Take it. It’s a short, flat passage and your pulse and respiratory rate can come back to normal. And, you’ll be treated to a gasp of a perfectly composed Puget Sound panorama.
Go right at the fork when a peek of Fragrance Lake is in sight. You’ll come upon hand hewn benches and a small flattening of land that offers prime viewing of the clean, clear lake and textured woodlands surrounding it. It’s perfect for the lunch you just earned or the nap you deserve. While enjoying the striking beauty, interrupt your repose long enough to contemplate the stiff case Fragrance Lake makes against the notion, "the joy is the journey".
On Chuckanut Drive (State Highway 11) 7 miles south of Bellingham across from the entrance to Larrabee State Park
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San Juan Islands