Fragrance Lake Ridge Loop

Janet joined me for a trip up to Chuckanut Mountain. We did a similar trip last November. This one was a bit different. This was Super Bowl Sunday so I thought there might be more folks out early. We met at the Two Dollar Trailhead off Chuckanut Drive at 8:15 am. I arrived at 8:10 am and Janet was already there. Only two other cars. It was chilly but not as cold as I was expecting. High 37s when we started out. The entire route was snow free. Writing this a few days later this week will probably have some low elevation snow. We made steady progress on the way to Fragrance Lake. One concern was the forecast 10+ mph winds. Up on the ridge top that might be really cold. We had zero wind early on. The waterfall before the lake was flowing well and we stopped for photos. A couple started just after us and they passed us here.

We continued up to the lake and then went around clockwise. We saw nice reflections in the lake. No wind at all made for a near perfect reflections. One bridge was taped off due to a direct hit by a falling tree. The muddy work around was very slick. At the inlet we started seeing a few groups coming up from the Chuckanut Drive trailhead. We quickly reached the "T" junction. We headed left on the old road turned trail as it climbed up to Cleator Road. Nice easy hiking. We reached the road and turned right. No cards were coming up the road as we hiked to the Cyrus Gates Overlook.  For the first time there were no cars at the overlook. We had a food break and no cars arrived the entire time we were there. Just four runners came and went. The views were pretty god though trees are staring to close them out.

It was only bout 10:20 when we packed up and continued on. Instead of heading down the road we went up to the top of Middle Chuckanut Mountain right above the overlook. It is completely forested with no views. The high point was just over 1900'. We followed the ridge down for several miles. A number of us and downs keep the going interesting. We saw only a few groups along here. The ridge top is completely forested. Still no wind. There was a wind storm recently as we saw a lot of small branches down all around. There were trees down too. Many of them had already been cut out. A few were still blocking the trail. The trail off the ridge is well signed. It drops to Cleator Road at a very gentle grade. Much gentler than I was expecting. We saw several more groups here.

We reached Cleator Road 1.2 miles from our cars. A nice easy walk down the road. A few vehicles passed up going up and down. We made it back to the trailhead just a few minutes after 1:00 pm. There were now more than a dozen cars there. This proved to be a good choice. We saw folks off and on but had a lot of solitude on this route. The lake is a destination but otherwise it was just a forest and road walk. Not the kind of hike that is overwhelmed with other people. During a pandemic that is not a bad thing. For the day we hiked about 8 miles with about 1600' of elevation gain. The ridge had so many small ups and downs it is hard to be very exact. Traffic was not bad on the way home and I arrived at about 2:30 pm. Pretty early for for a 156 mile round trip drive. The day had high avalanche danger in the mountains and some rain over the lowlands. We had very nice conditions.

Starting Up The Trail
Sandstone Wall
Lake Reflection
Log In Lake
Crazy Branches
Another View
Nice Reflection
Heading Up Again
Overlook Map Board
Bellingham Bay
Frosty Ground
Rock On Ridge
Down Trees
More Rocks
Pond On Ridge Top
This Is The Trail
Last Water View
Cleator Road
Moss & Leaves On Tree
Parking "Lot"
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2021