Oyster Dome via Chuckanut Drive

Two hikes in two weekends! The weather was supposed to be cloudy and rainy on Saturday and nice on Sunday, so the plan was to go to Deception Pass Bridge on Saturday before the rain and Oyster Dome on Sunday for the views. I had never been to Deception Pass State Park, and I must say the view from the bridge is phenomenal. The expected rain never showed up, and the overcast skies made for absolutely spectacular green-blue water that pictures just can’t fully capture.

 

As for the weather on Sunday, I’ll just say that Oyster Dome has joined an ever-growing list of PNW hikes I have to do again* (because we couldn’t see anything at the top). We definitely weren’t expecting snow!

We got to the Chuckanut Drive parking area around 9:45am, which is located right near the Oyster Bar restaurant (we didn’t stop here for lunch, but I read great things about their food). There were about 12-15 cars parked along the road when we arrived, but there was more than enough room for several cars yet. You have to cross the highway to get to the start of the trail, after which you immediately start trekking up a very steep first couple of switchbacks. The trail is well-marked and we didn’t need to rely on the white tree markers along the sides of the path. There was also a fair amount of running water on this hike, which was nice. 

About a mile and a half in (after the third switchback), you’ll reach a fork in the road where you take a left toward Oyster Dome. The incline doesn’t get much more forgiving from here, and we took quite a few breaks for water. One of the hikers who we leapfrogged with told us that they weren’t mentally prepared to do an 8+ mile hike, as they meant to park at Samish Overlook parking on Blanchard Mountain and had instead parked at Chuckanut Drive. We briefly bonded over having made the exact same mistake.

At the next fork, follow another sign pointing towards Oyster Dome to finally reach the scenic lookout. By the time we made it to the top, it was snowing and there wasn’t much of a view. We sat on a rock under a few trees and enjoyed a top-of-the-mountain treat before heading back down. The snow was really falling on the way down, so the trail was muddier and the views were unexpectedly wintry. Luckily, we got a peak at what the Oyster Dome view was supposed to be when the clouds cleared up about halfway down.

The switchbacks on the way down are brutal on the knees, but it made the hike back feel very short. We arrived back at our car a little after noon, and there were many more cars filling up the side of the road. All in all, despite disappointing views at the top, this was a great hike and I’ll add it to my list of hikes to try again during summer!

 

*Hikes I Need to Retry

  • High Rock
  • Colchuck Lake
  • Poo Poo Point
  • Mt. Pilchuck
  • Oyster Dome

 

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