Lily and Lizard Lakes up in the Chuckanut area is a very popular hike for Whatcom and Skagit County folks year round.
It's low elevation makes it easily accessible and typically snow-free.
Due to the unfavorable weather forecast for July 16, 2011, this became my destination for the day.
The day was drippy, with bouts of fog and no views.
There are a number of routes that lead you up to the lakes. For this particular hike, I parked at the Lower Trailhead (accessible via Barrell Springs Road) and took the 1 mile trail to the Upper Trailhead and then the traditional trail the rest of the way to the lakes. GPS based route image is down near the bottom of this report.
An alternate route is via the Incline Trail, which may actually have been shorter - but the first part of it follows a gated road. A short exploration up the road led me to a clearing that 'could' offer some views in better weather.
My round trip route was 10 miles and about 2,000 feet of net elevation gain. YOu can shorten the trip by 2 miles if you park at the upper trail head. I recommend the upper trail head because you aren't missing anything if you don't hike the 1 mile trail between the two starting points. The only benefits to the lower trail head is that it sports an outhouse, gives you a chance to hike a little bit further, gain a little extra elevation and MAYBE you'll find a porcupine on the trail.
Another route option is to combined the trip with a hike to Oyster Dome, then take "Max's Shortcut" from the Oyster Dome trail to go directly to the lakes.
The regular trail parallels the road that heads toward Samish Overlook for about a mile before making a switchback and begins to gain elevation.
At the first trail junction, continue straight ahead. The junction isn't signed, but I suspect the trail to the left connects back to the Samish Overlook parking lot.
The trail simply ascends through the forest on good tread. There are periodic boggy areas and once in a while you'll come across some resting benches.
Finally, you'll reach a second intersection that has very clear signs. Lily Lake to the left, Lizard Lake (and the Incline Trail) to the right.
I choose to go the the right (Lizard Lk) first.
Then I back-tracked to Lily Lake.
Reportedly, from Lily Lake you can head up hill (off trail) to scout out the local high point, which is marked with a survey marker. I considered this option, but the poor weather and longer-than-expected mileage left me unmotivated to tackle that destination. Will do it on a better-weather day.
All in all, it was a great hike for the conditions. If you want to introduce someone to a typical 'great northwet forest', come here on a cloudy or drippy day.
Brought along a special snack for the hike today:
Despite being a summer weekend, I only encountered two other people on the trail during my four hour visit.
****The new Discover Pass is required at the Lower TH, the Upper TH and also at Samish Overlook. You cannot buy one at either the Upper or Lower lot as of my visit. Consider driving back down to Chuckanut and parking at the Oyster Dome/Bat Caves trail head where I think passes are not required. This will add miles and elevation to the Lily/Lizard Lake destination, so plan accordingly.****