Welcome to the Outdoor & Artistic Adventures of Rachel & Gavin!
We are a guy who spent a lot of time in the outdoors when he was a kid and a gal who has always loved the outdoors but never quite had the confidence to get out there, and together we are learning & loving our way through the wilds of the PNW and beyond. Our Disclaimer! Any information you find here is from our personal experience and should not be taken as professional camping/hiking/survival advice. Our hope is to provide information we had some difficulty finding online AND inspire others who aren’t quite sure they could go adventuring by sharing our learning stories & experiences. Take this is a sign to get out there and do it – with the proper gear & research into where you’re going! Because if we, a couple of not quite-in-shape theatre kids can do it, you definitely can.
Lilly Lizard Lake Loop was our first backpacking trip of the season! [Our 4th ever together.] It was a great warm up hike to remind our bodies what it is like to work a little harder than lifting holiday cocktails and swiping up on TikTok. There were a few other people on the trail, but we were the only ones who camped that night. As we walked up to the campsites, an eagle flew over the lake and it was magic. We went fishing both that night and the next morning. Gav caught a couple small trout that he threw back. And I caught my very first fish ever the next morning!!! Which was also small and put back – but truly exciting nevertheless. Our hike out we took a different route so we could head up to Oyster Dome [which I learned is where paragliders launch themselves!!!] a beautiful overlook of the San Juan Islands – and that was with a bit of snowfall. I can only imagine what it looks like on a clear day. Keep scrolling for more specific details on the hike and backpacking experience.
All Trails: https://bit.ly/3sM7GqY
Parking Pass: Discovery Pass
Where: On the Traditional Land of the Coast Salish, Stillaguamish, Nuwhaha, Sauk Suiattle [source: Native Land App]
1.5 Hours outside of Seattle. Near Bellingham. Parked at “Samish Overlook”. It’s on the left hand side, pass through the yellow gate (open one hour before sunrise to one hour past sunset) and continues 2.2 miles to the Samish Overlook Area. It says day use only… so we parked outside of the parking lot on the road. We weren’t sure…
When: Went on Thursday, April 8th, spent the night at Lizard Lake, and hiked back out Friday, April 9th.
Weather: Thursday was sunny. I was able to hike with just a sweatshirt on. It got cold fast when the sunset though. The next morning it was snowing – it didn’t stick – but it was snow cold.
Amenities: Parking lot. There is a bathroom at the parking lot. The campsites at both Lizard & Lily lake are great. Very well established, each had their own firepit many of which even had a grill. Great signage on the trails.
The Hike In: Mile 1 & 2 were pretty easy, took our water break at mile 2 then stopped briefly to tie my boot at 2.8ish [where there are some benches] which was good because…
Mile 3 & 4 Took a turn up hill. Not hard, but definitely harder than the first two miles. Around end of mile 4 we spotted some snow on the sides but no snow anywhere on the actual trail.
The Hike Out: Went past Lily lake and up to Oyster Dome, which was quite an incline, but also not too long. Worth it for the view of the San Juan Islands! Then a mostly all downhill return out. We were worried we’d missed a turn, but we hadn’t. The signage on the trail is 100 emoji.
The Camp: Well maintained campsites on both Lizard & Lily Lake. Fire pits with grills. Sites are spaced out but will not give you any isolation, if others are there you will have next door neighbors.
New Tools/Tricks: I got a Kula Cloth – a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth. Which I absolutely love. One side has a design on it and the other is the side you use. It clips to your bag or clips to itself after it’s been used. Easy & sustainable to use & easy to clean. Highly recommend it if you’re over packing out TP or just shaking it off.
Fail Whales: Gavin got a bit wet trying to get one of his lures back… He was wearing jeans so they did not dry well. So, we made a stop at the Eddie Bauer Outlet on our way back to get us both some better hiking pants.
What We Learned: We had originally planned on staying a second night, however it was too wet to get a proper fire going and we didn’t feel like we had quite the right layers to be comfortable for a second now snowy night – especially because Gavin’s pants weren’t drying. So, we learned for these early spring/late winter hikes we need to do a bit more planning regarding our clothes and the potential for pretty drastic weather shifts. Bright side – it was a lot of fun [& v pretty] to fish and hike out in the light snowfall.
Final Thoughts: We highly recommend this hike and camping experience! Considering how well kept the trails & the campsites are, we can only assume they are packed during the summer so if you’re going and want a campsite, head out early! We’re trying to spread the love all over the PNW but we enjoyed this one so much we may try to see what it’s like later this season when it isn’t snowing!
If you take the trek out to the Lizard Lily Lake Loop let us know how it goes in the comments below or on Instagram [where you’ll also find more pictures, tidbits, and day to day adventures!]