Hiking the Oyster Dome Near Bellingham, Washington

Oyster Dome Image: wta.org
Oyster Dome
Image: wta.org


Margaret Loughren attends Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Like many people who live in Bellingham, Margaret Loughren enjoys hiking the trails in and around Whatcom County.

The Oyster Dome hike is a longtime favorite of Whatcom County residents. Named for the visible oysters embedded in rocks, the trail takes hikers through beautiful woodlands, exposed rocky areas, and by small caves.

The Oyster Dome hike is a six-and-a-half-mile round trip. It rises 1,900 feet from the trailhead, reaching an elevation of 2,025 feet at its highest point.

The trail begins right off of scenic Chuckanut Drive and is immediately quite steep. Switchbacks take hikers back and forth up a strong incline through alder, red cedar, and Douglas fir trees and paste trail sculptures.

About three miles into the hike, the trail splits. Hikers can choose to continue toward the Oyster Dome itself, or turn off to go to Lily and Lizard Lakes. The view from rocky Oyster Dome is a beautiful payoff at the end of the steep hike. From there, visitors can see several of the San Juan Islands as well as the Skagit River Flats and Anacortes.


Tips for Hiking in the Rain

Hiking in the Rain pic
Hiking in the Rain
Image: hiking.about.com

Margaret Loughren, a student at Western Washington University, enjoys spending her free time hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Margaret Loughren has hiked a number of trails at Mount Rainier and intends to explore Mount Baker as well.

If you have the gear and the expertise to stay warm and dry, hiking in the rain can be an extremely rewarding experience. A satisfying rain hike begins with a comfortable and stretchy base layer, which protects the skin from jacket-induced chafing without impeding movement. If the weather is both chilly and rainy, a synthetic insulating layer can help you to stay comfortable without absorbing water.

Keeping your feet warm is also extremely important. Some experts recommend stretching your rain pants over the tops of your boots to direct moisture toward the ground, but others claim that even the most waterproof boots will eventually soak through. These hikers often opt instead for trail-running shoes, which are breathable and do not require socks.

A hard-shell outer layer is a vital final step in terms of clothing, though it is equally important to cover your backpack and other gear in something waterproof. The safest plan is to keep your backpack in a plastic bag or pack cover and to open it as infrequently as possible. Particularly vulnerable items, such as maps and cell phones, should remain in sealed plastic.