Little Cranberry Lake — A perfect complement hike to your Thanksgiving Day celebration

Quick Facts:

Location: Anacortes-Fidalgo Island

Land Agency: Anacortes Community Forest Lands

Roundtrip: 1.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Access:  From Exit 230 on I-5 in Burlington, head west on SR 20 to junction with SR 20-Spur. Continue right on SR 20-Spur to Anacortes. At traffic light near old town, continue left on 12th Street (still SR 20-Spur and12th Street becomes Oakes Ave after D Ave junction) for 1.6 miles turning left onto Georgia Ave. Then drive.2 mile turning right onto gravel road (signed for ACFL). Follow for .3 mile to trailhead.

Contact:  Anacortes Parks and Recreation

Notes: dogs permitted on leash

Good to Know: dog friendly, kid-friendly, snow-free winter hike; Practice Leave No Trace Principles


Take a peaceful hike around a tranquil little lake through groves of handsome firs, thick patches of salal, and over sunny shoreline ledges. Surrounded by big trees and cradling two boggy islands harboring, yes—cranberries; Little Cranberry Lake is an attractive body of water. It’s wildlife rich too; watch for eagles, beavers and otters.


Observation deck at Little Cranberry Lake.

Starting from the kiosk, hike east on Trail no. 100 crossing an earthen dam built in the early 1900s transforming this wetland depression into a shallow lake. The way hugs the lakeshore beneath mature Doug-firs and through a thick understory of ferns and salal. Stay right at a junction and come to an observation deck.

Continue along the lake heading right onto Trail no. 102. While the copious junctions can be confusing (carry a map); they are all signed with allowed trail usage. From this point forward, it’s hiking only—so no need to worry about dodging mountain bikes. Stay to the right at all junctions (and there are many) on this route keeping the lakeshore always in view.

Through jumbled boulders and beneath ledges mosey along the lakeshore. Admire madronas among the cedars and firs. Watch kingfishers fish. Scan the boggy islands, one on each end of the lake, for avian and small mammal activity.

At .8 mile, reach a junction. Head right crossing a bridge over an inlet stream and immediately come to another junction. Yep—go right. At 1.1 miles on the lake’s southwest corner bear right at a junction onto Trail no. 105. Cross a creek and come to another junction.

Now take trail no. 101 right along the lake’s west shoreline. Climb up and over some sunny ledges granting good lake views. At 1.9 miles arrive back at the trailhead.

For more detailed information (including maps) on this and other area hikes, consult my Day Hiking The San Juans and Gulf Islands guidebook which contains 136 hikes on 28 islands including many on Fidalgo.Day Hiking San Juan and Gulf Islands

 For information on nearby family friendly lodging and things to do, consult Northwest TripFinderNWTFmasthead_layers15

For more information on this hike and a whole bunch of other ones near Anacortes, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham (including the Chuckanut Mountains) pick up a copy of my best-selling Urban Trail Bellingham book!


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