Blanchard, Reiter, Walker Valley and Nearby Islands

The 4,500-acre Blanchard State Forest, located in Skagit County, and areas to the south in Snohomish County, are working forestlands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide sustainable revenue in support of public services.
DNR manages this working forest in partnership with its Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee, which approved this timber sale. This committee consists of a diverse group of stakeholders from the recreational, environmental, timber industry and Skagit County working collaboratively to provide input to the agency on the best practices for managing Blanchard State Forest as a working forest.


Extensively logged starting in the mid-1800s, Blanchard State Forest, also known as Blanchard Mountain or Blanchard Hill, was deeded to the state after a major fire there in 1925. For more than half a century DNR has invested time, funds and effort to manage, replant and protect the new forestlands that today provide many benefits. Timber productionbiomass byproductscommunication tower leases, and other activities on these lands help to fund local services in Skagit County. Local beneficiaries include Burlington-Edison Schools, United General Hospital, the Port of Skagit County, and Skagit County roads and public services.
In addition to earning income, the undeveloped working lands in this area provide habitat for native plants and animals, water retention and water quality benefits, and diverse recreation opportunities. In 2007, DNR established a Blanchard Forest strategy to protect long-term income production for the trust beneficiaries, plant and wildlife habitat, and public-use opportunities with involvement from the broader community. Today, an eleven-member Blanchard Forest Advisory Committee appointed by the Commissioner of Public Lands provides recommendations to assist DNR's management and recreation decisions. These committee members, whose meetings are open to the public, represent organized non-motorized recreation, trust beneficiaries, the forest industry, land trusts, conservationists, and local community members, businesses and schools.
When working in or visiting managed lands in the Blanchard State Forest or nearby areas, always remember to:
Those interested in learning about planned forest activities in, or near, the Blanchard area may use our Habitat Conservation Planrecreation planning, Forest Practices Application Review System (FPARS), and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) web pages to find out about proposed and authorized timber harvests, thinning projects, road projects, planning efforts, and other activities.


Recreation alert: DNR’s Sumas Mountain Mainline Road in Whatcom County will be experiencing road closure and delays until the end of July 2018 due to timber harvest along the mainline road system. Please be aware of road closure signs on the road system for your safety. If passage is needed for emergency or other contractor work please make contact with an operator on the road system for safe passage.    
Recreation alert: The Alger Mountain Gate off Skaarup Road in Skagit County is closed to vehicle traffic for at least the next 6 months due to two timber sales, which will have active road building, timber harvesting and log hauling. These timber sales will generate over $3 million for Skagit County and the Burlington-Edison School District to use for a variety of projects that benefit local citizens. The area is still open to folks who wish to walk in. Road closed signs will be posted at the gate. Please remember if the gate is open, it can be closed at any time by the operators out on site. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Calls can be directed to DNR Northwest Region at 360-856-3500.
Recreation alert: Expect heavy truck traffic due to the upcoming Grasshopper timber harvest: Road activity associated with the Grasshopper Timber Sale will result in heavy truck traffic on the Blanchard mainline road and the road to the Samish Overlook starting March 8, 2018. Anticipate large trucks on the road system for next 3 to 5 months (view map of roads expected to see increased traffic). More information will be provided in the coming months regarding actual timber harvest, trail closure and trail detour. A section of the Samish Bay Trail will be temporarily closed for hiker safety but the trail will not be affected by the harvest. This timber harvest is not within the area referred to as the Core. 
Recreation alert: Samish Bay Trail Closure (main trail to the Oyster Dome)
Samish Bay Trail Closed weekdays Monday through Friday (OPEN ON WEEKENDS) for 2 weeks from August 13 or until further notice for public safety during active forestry operations. Please use other trails as detour.
DNR offers diverse recreation opportunities in Blanchard and the surrounding forests. Find hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the Chuckanut Mountains of Blanchard Forest, or head to Walker Valley for 35 miles of off-road-vehicle riding trails. Kayak to one of our boat-access campgrounds on the waters west of Blanchard, such as the Griffin Bay Campground on San Juan Island, or take a trail ride in the horseback riding-oriented Les Hilde trail system in the Harry Osborne Forest. Additional recreation opportunities can be found in the surrounding DNR-managed forests, including Reiter Foothills Forest, Harry Osborne Forest, and Walker Valley Forest.
  • To access recreation sites on DNR-managed land with your vehicle, you'll need a Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington's great outdoors.
  • Campgrounds are first come, first served. No reservations.
  • Camping stay is limited to 7 days in a 30-day period.
  • Practice leave no trace principles and pack out what you pack in.
  • Enjoy campfires in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds. Always check for burn restriction.
  • Don't Move Firewood: Help protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. Please purchase your firewood near your campsite. Find more information here.
  • Dogs allowed on leash. Horseback riders may bring unleashed dogs controlled by voice command.
DNR's Cypress Island Natural Resources Conservation Area, Cattle Point Natural Resources Conservation AreaMorning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area, Lummi Island Natural Resources Conservation Area, Point Doughty Natural Area Preserve, and the Lake Louise Natural Resources Conservation Area, near Blanchard Forest, also provide low-impact recreation opportunities. Use our statewide interactive recreation map to find recreation opportunities near you.

Recreation alert: 
  • Effective August 2, DNR has banned all outdoor burning statewide. 
  • To prevent wildfires, dispersed camping and backcountry fires are banned through September 30. 
  • DNR Burn Restrictions


Recreation sites

Blanchard Forest
View a trail map of the Blanchard Forest and surrounding Chuckanut Mountains.
Samish Overlook
At an elevation of 1,300 feet, Samish Overlook, offers stunning views of the San Juan Islands and Skagit Valley. Watch hang gliders and paragliders launch from this site, or access the Blanchard Forest through this trail system. Trailhead facilities include benches and a vault toilet.
  • Large vehicles limited to 25-feet in length.
  • Day use only. Open one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
Directions: Take exit 240 from I-5 north. Turn left on Samish Lake Road. Go .5 miles and turn left on Barrel Springs Road. Go .6 miles and turn right on DNR Road. Go .6 miles to Lower Trailhead Drive. Get directions.
Blanchard Forest Lower
The Lower Trailhead trail, which serves as the southern entrance to Chuckanut Mountains, has wide switchbacks that connect with the Upper Trailhead.
Directions: Start at I-5 exit 240. Go north on Samish Lake Road for .5 miles. Turn left on Barrel Springs Road. Go one mile. Turn right on B-1000 Road. Go 1 mile to trailhead. Get directions
Blanchard Forest Upper
Blanchard Upper Trailhead provides the main access for non-motorized recreation use in the southern portion of the Chuckanut Mountains. Trails provide views of Samish Bay, the San Juan Islands and pristine forest lakes. Trailhead provides access to backcountry campsites, Lily Lake Campground and Lizard Lake Campground.
  • No toilets available at Lily and Lizard campgrounds.
  • No garbage service at Lily and Lizard campground. Practice leave no trace principles and pack out what you pack in.
  • Camping is limited to established campsites only for a maximum of 7 days in a 30-day period.
Directions: From Blanchard Forest Block - Lower Trailhead. Continue on B-1000 Road for one mile. Stay right on B-1000 Road for .2 mile to site on right. Get directions.
Recreation alert: Due to extreme fire danger and the difficulty of fire suppression response, effective immediately no fires are allowed on DNR – Managed Recreational sites in the San Juan Islands. This prohibition applies to all campfires including those within fire rings and the use of charcoal briquettes. Propane camp stoves are allowed. This prohibition will remain in force until September 30th unless updated.   
Griffin Bay Campground
This five-campsite campground on San Juan Island provides stunning ocean views. Facilities include a vault toilet.
Directions: Boat access only.
Upright Channel Day-Use Area and Beach Access
Upright Channel Day-Use Area and Beach Access is located on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. It offers access to a 20-acre day-use park, which includes trails, beach access and a picnic area. 
Directions: From Lopez Island ferry landing, continue 2 miles on Ferry Road. Stay right on Fisherman Bay Road and continue .4 miles. Turn right on Military Road and continue .2 miles. Turn right and continue on Military road .3 miles. Site on the right.
Harry Osborne Forest
Recreation alert: Harry Osborne trail closures will start on July 3rd for the lower end of Red Cabin Creek and lower end of Big Stump Trail due to road construction for future timber harvest. These trails are expected to be closed for about a month. 
Recreation alert: Starting July 16th the Max Johnson Trail in the Harry Osborne Forest will be closed for a recreational trail bridge replacement project. This bridge replacement is planned to last 3 weeks if not sooner. The new trail bridge will be safer with side railings and expected to last 30 years. Please refer to maps and plan your ride accordingly to avoid these trails.
Medford Pit Update: The Medford pit will be closed to public entry starting July 3rd until further notice for the safety of the public and contractors working in the pit. This closure is anticipated to last about a month. (Updated as of June 28, 2018). 
Les Hilde Trailhead
Les Hilde Trailhead, located in the Harry Osborne State Forest, has 40 miles of primarily horseback riding trail. Facilities include picnic tables, highline for horses, day-use shelter, and vault toilet. 
Directions:  Start in Sedro Woolley at SR-20 and Township Road. Head east on SR-20 for 10.4 miles. Turn left on Cabin Creek Road. Go .2 miles. Turn right on Hamilton Cemetery Road. Go .4 mi. Turn left on Medford Road and go 1.1 miles to trailhead. Get directions.
Reiter Foothills Forest
Reiter Foothills Forest's 10,000 acres are located between sub-alpine wilderness and the Skykomish River valley, surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks. 
Reiter Foothills Forest is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Outside of the summer season, hours change to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Reiter Foothills Forest is open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
  • Obey posted signs and stay off unsigned or closed trails.
  • No dispersed camping, day-use only.
  • No garbage service. Pack out what you pack in.
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Only ride on trails that fit your vehicle.
  • Discover Pass required on all street-legal vehicles, including motorcycles and 4x4s.
  • Report illegal activity to DNR's Forest Watch program at 1-855-886-8268 or
Directions: To access the motorized area From Gold Bar, continue east on Highway 2. Turn left on Reiter Road. After 1 mile, stay right at the fork. Turn left after 3.2 miles onto a DNR forest road, Deer Flats Road. Continue to the parking areas, which will be marked. 
The Reiter Foothills Public Forum meetings are open for all to attend. These are a great way to hear firsthand about the progress at Reiter and to provide your input on recreation planning. Meetings are from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every fourth Wednesday of the month. They are held in the East Public Meeting Room in the Snohomish County Building at 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett.
Walker Valley Forest
Walker Valley Trailhead is a popular ORV destination with 36 miles of trails. The Walker Valley Trail system has single track trails for motorcycles and mountain bikes, double track trails for ATVs and six miles of 4x4 trails.
Recreation alert: Curt's Conundrum Motorcycle Trail is temporarily closed for tail re-construction and should be open in August.
Recreation alert: Expect heavy logging truck traffic on the Bear Creek Mainline Road. Drive slowly and exercise caution around logging trucks. 
Trail maps
View a trail map of the Walker Valley ORV Area. 
Directions: Start at I-5 exit 227. Go east on SR-538 for 4 miles. Turn south on SR-9. Go 3 miles (milepost 42). Turn left on Walker Valley Road. Go 2 miles. Turn right on to Peter Barns Road. Go 1 mile, then to Walker Valley trailhead on right, just past the bridge. Get directions.