With gas prices screaming higher and higher, a mixed weather forecast and no hiking buddies for the day, it was the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to the Oyster Dome and Bat Caves.
After living in Whatcom or Skagit county almost continuously for the last 20 years, this would only be my second visit to Oyster Dome. It seems that my original trip (probably 15 years ago) was on an alternate route, what I now think of as the 'old trail'. It was more direct and less mileage than the MP10 version and there doesn't seem to be any online info about it.
The 'old' Bat cave shortcut
For those looking for the shortest and easiest route to the Oyster Dome, you can access the trail by parking at the Samish Overlook, off Barrel Springs Road to avoid a couple of miles and lots of elevation.
Part of the Oyster Dome trail includes a section of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). The 1200 mile PNT runs from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean.
Upon arrival at MP 10 on Chuckanut drive, the cloud level was pretty low and the mountain tops were obscured. No matter... these things often change for the better.
Trail Info at TH
Started hiking about 11:10am, only 3 or 4 other cars were already there but two more pulled up just as I departed. No broken window glass noted... this is a high break-in area... but it seemed that all the vehicles today were safe.
Trail was easy to follow with almost all trail intersections well marked (in my opinion).
Welcome to the bat caves
Ice Age signage
Numerous dogs on the trail, only one or two were leashed. Saw two hiking goats also (both leashed), but it wasn't JenJen.
Was 'found' by a Whatcom Search and Rescue dog on a training mission. Nice to meet you Jennifer... thanks for chatting.
Skyward in fog
Encountered a Geology class on their descent as I approached the Bat Caves area.
Enjoyed about 20 seconds of filtered southern views from Oyster Dome before it became completely socked in. It's OK, chances are I'll be back here next weekend.
Oyster Creek Crossing
Oyster Creek Crossing
Looking up toward Oyster Dome
Wet web at cave entrance
About 30 minutes after beginning my descent, the sun decided to come out in full force. While I missed the Oyster Dome views, I did manage to catch a few photos from the Samish Overlook.
Samish Overlook Launch
Enjoyed 5 minutes of sunny solitude at the little bench viewpoint when suddenly four or five unrelated groups of hikers converged at this exact location all at once. Chatted with a couple who were new to Bellingham and then gave up the bench seat for others and headed on back to Hwy 11.
Upon return to my vehicle, noticed a trail headed down toward the beach. Followed it... took a couple pictures and then headed home.
Estimate about 2,100 elevation gain and 7.25 miles, round trip including beach visit.
On their first day of summer vacation I was able to rouse both the kids out of bed for the 'will someday be an annual' Father's Day Hike.
We started at the Samish Overlook to avoid the intial elevation gain and watched a dude set up his hang glider for a nice launch (which we didn't witness).
The girls loved the creek crossings and the mud along the trail.
Lunch at the Bat Caves where we were visited by a squirrel and watched an eagle circle above looking for its own lunch. Overcame a fear of crossing bridges with only one hand railing and looked for tadpoles in a boulder pool.
They enjoyed the hike, but indicated that they enjoyed the hike to Ebey's Landing from 2006 a bit more. Getting them up to the views at Oyster Dome probably would have left a better impression on them. Will try to hit that later this summer.
Thanks, kids, for the great day on the trail.
Scenic Samish Overlook
Father's Day Hike
Moss and lollipops
Only one railing?
Boulder Pool -- Tadpoles? Nope.
-------------- "Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas." ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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