Chuckanut Ridge: Hike boasts stunning view

Elevation gain: About 500 feet.

Round trip: 7 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Best time to hike: Year-round.

Highlights: This ridge walk offers stunning views east to the Twin Sisters and Mount Baker.

Map: USGS Bellingham South (7.5 series).

Getting there: Take Chuckanut Drive to Hiline Drive and head east, north and up onto Cleator Road for 2.1 miles. Find the trailhead on your left and park across the road on the shoulder.

Follow the trail northward and up. At 0.7 miles, the trees thin and an obvious 50-foot side path leads left (west) to a picture-perfect view of Lummi, Orcas and many other islands. Back on the main route, it is slightly more than a quarter mile to a T-junction with the Chuckanut Ridge Trail.

Head left for ¼ to ½ mile and start enjoying the views again. Spectacular views of Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters dominate from numerous lookouts. Just before the trail starts sharply downward, Chuckanut Ridge veers slightly northwest, permitting wider horizons to the north. Beyond ½ mile views disappear so turn around and head south, at first retracing your steps and then continuing on beyond the T-junction where you entered the Chuckanut Ridge Trail.

From here it's up and down the ridge bumps for about three miles to Cleator Road. Take a left and continue for a couple hundred yards to the Cyrus Gates Overlook or take a right and head back to where you parked.

The north end of the trail connects with the North Lost Lake Trail in an easy-to-miss junction, just north of the Salal Trail.