Cedar & Pine Lakes – Surprisingly One Of The Steepest Hikes I’ve Been On

Earlier this spring, with all of the snow in the Cascades, I decided to make it a goal to hike every trail in the Chuckanuts – some like Oyster Dome I’ve been on at least a dozen times, but others I somehow haven’t done at all. The hike to Pine and Cedar Lakes is one I haven’t tried yet, despite driving past the trailhead many times in the past. Well it was a pretty cool hike – a classic Chuckanut route through forests, past streams and a fair amount of elevation gain and loss. The start of the trail starts off steep, or should I say – STEEP. This was one of the steepest sections of trail I’ve ever been on, steeper than any of the Mt. Baker hikes I went on last year, and just as steep as several sections of the Cinque Terre trail were this year. My wife was not happy – level river hikes are more her thing, some elevation gain/loss is okay, but this was just not fun for her. I didn’t even like it much, but I can handle just about anything so I made the best of it.

The scenery was beautiful though, with streams cutting into the mountainside, forming sometimes deep valleys that we would hike along. In fact, the hike was definitely more scenic than the destination – each of the lakes was okay, but not where we wanted to linger long. Muddy shorelines, bugs and a lack of great places to sit meant we only stayed at each lake about 5 minutes or so.

We made our way back to civilization by taking the Hemlock Trail north towards Arroyo Park – we initially planned on hiking all the way into Fairhaven for a pint at Stones Throw Brewery, but we were approaching 8 miles of hiking and getting a little tired. So we decided to make it a loop, hike into Arroyo Park, then walk along Old Samish Road back to our car. Lemme tell you, hiking on pavement after a long hike in the forest is not fun – my legs, knees and ankles started begging for mercy right away. But we made it in the end – overall I’m not sure when or if I’d go back (Lizard Lake is probably my favorite lake in the Chuckanuts), but it was a decent hike, a great workout and some lovely scenery to enjoy along the way. We did make it to Stones Throw in the end, but we drove…

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