Little Cranberry Lake is one of four main areas in the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL).
In the last year I've made a first visit to two other ACFL areas: Heart Lake and Whistle Lake/Sugarloaf Mountain. The third area, Mount Erie, contains some trails and climbing areas, but also includes a road directly to the summit... so it's pretty low on the Hikes To Do list.
Little Cranberry Lake came back onto my radar screen after the family mentioned interest in going swimming at Cranberry Lake. I found this request to be odd, because Google Earth wasn't revealing a swimming area that would be compatibale with my family's expectation of 'a swimming area' and 'a good time'.
As it turns out, they were talking about the real Cranberry Lake, which is not too far away... part of Deception Pass State Park. Darn good thing to know and make note of.
So, while trying to figure out why my family would request to go swimming at the wrong Cranberry Lake, I noticed that the ACFL map for Little Cranberry Lake indicates there is a mine nearby.
A search on Google revealed that it's wide open for anyone to actualy walk into it.
Suggestion: Bring a flashlight.
I ALWAYS keep one in my pack. Except today. Yeah, go figure. Guess a return trip will be in the future.
Another Suggestion: Bring an ACFL map of the area with you. The trails are all numbered and the ACFL map really helps in knowing where the trail goes - and how to find your car again.
The trails were pretty popular on this sunny day, but still not at all crowded.
The road to the lake is maybe 1 mile of gravel, somewhat steep in places and some good sized washboard dips on the inclines. My Camry bottomed out once (no damage) but was otherwise fine. If it's wet out, the road could be muddy and slick.
Followed the trail around the lake in a clockwise direction from the main parking area on the southside of the lake, near the dam.
Yes, it's a dam, but a small one, and the water level was pretty low at my visit.
there were people sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, mine exploring, innertube floating and littering.
I followed the trail to the mine, then followed trail 103 to the high point. Very odd phenomenon up there: the ground sounds hollow. I suspect the mine is deep below the highpoint, but I bet there is an inaccessible cavern just below the trail 103 highpoint - or maybe there is another opening that isn't publicized.
Seriously... go check it out and let me know. I'm really curious to find out more.
A third suggestion: Look out for this beehive alongside the trail on the west side of the lake, just south of the bare rocky/mossy area.
Like the other ACFL areas, this was a great local excursion!
Find the ACFL maps here (for free, partway down the page).