With sweeping views over the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, Oyster Dome is undeniably a classic PNW hike and a regional favorite. Hannah’s and my original plan was the hike up in the late afternoon and headlamp out after watching the sunset but the weather forecast was making that plan pretty iffy. So we decided to play it by ear, which is the correct way to live in any circumstance. In the morning, we buzzed up to La Conner to check out the blooming fields of tulips and daffodils. Eye-melting colors and dramatic skies were the name of that game. Then a quick bite to eat in Edison en route to our hike.

After lunch, with the good weather looking like it was holding out for at least a little while, we decided to hit the hike early. It was a great call. There are two main options for accessing Oyster Dome, but we opted for the Chuckanut Drive start. The trail was steep, but very well-built (#builtright) and we breezed up the hillside, gaining elevation quickly before leveling off after about 2 miles. A quick side trip at a trail connector took us to the Samish Overlook, which is the other access to Oyster Dome and the surrounding area. Doubling back, we followed a very well-maintained and marked trail to the top of Oyster Dome. We hiked through huge, house-sized boulders covered with moss and towering trees. The wind at the top immediately made both of us climb back into our multiple jacket layers and break out the stove to heat some coffee.

As we turned to descend, Hannah reminded me that I should probably take a photo of the killer view from the top. She wasn’t wrong. The scene was staggering, with the moodiest of skies lurking overhead creating a patchwork of light on the water and islands below. The viewpoint photo makes the weather look far more ominous than it was. The temps were pleasant and the sun was out most of the hike up and down.