Heart Lake

ACFL Trail #212-213

1.4 miles roundtrip/30 min. loop

Description: Forested, moderate hills

Description: Forested, moderate hills

Views: Forest, trail spur with limited Sound view through trees

Directions: From Anacortes, drive south out of town on H Avenue, which becomes Heart Lake Road. Park in lot at the base of Mt. Erie or in parking spaces on the east shoulder of Heart Lake Road. Walk west across Heart Lake Road to #212 trailhead.

Take the first right to follow this loop trail counterclockwise - warming up on the flat trail, then climbing a moderate hill mid-trail and enjoying a mild downhill walk at the end. About .25 miles before the returning to the trailhead, watch for spur trail #213 on your left - it can no longer boast a clear view of Puget Sound, but it has a good grassy spot for a rest or picnic.

If you start left, you'll follow #25 uphill for .25 miles before it becomes #212. You'll descend the big hill mid-hike, then climb back up slightly to the junction with trail #210. If you have the time, take #210 for .25-.5 miles to the shoreline of Heart Lake.

ACFL Trail #249

1.5 miles roundtrip/30 min. loop
Description: Forested, one steep hill each direction
Views: Mount Erie, views through trees of Lake Erie, creek running through low valley
Directions: From Anacortes, drive south out of town on H Avenue, which becomes Heart Lake Road. Park on the shoulder on the right, just before the “twin trees” (photo below left). From Hwy. 20, turn west on Lake Campbell Road, then right at the Lake Erie Grocery. Park on the west shoulder immediately after the twin trees.

The center photo above shows the steep right loop start. The left loop starts gently, but quickly changes to a fairly steep descent to a valley and a bridge over a spring that’s graced with short falls in rainy seasons. Hike steeply uphill out of that valley and close to the top, watch for a left junction that leads through a madrona grove to a wildflower meadow (in spring) and big views of Mount Erie. Since it’s about halfway through the hike, it could be a great place for a stop, or even a picnic. 

When you return to the trail, watch for a large big leaf maple on your left and marvel at its crop of ferns growing up the trunk and limbs (photo below left). Continue through slight ups and downs past a marshy area with bright yellow skunk cabbage blooms in early spring. The trail finishes with a short, steep descent – take it slow and watch your footing on the loose rock!

Taking the right loop route is best when it's wet due to the quick steep scramble that could be slick coming down if you started with the left loop. After this initial ascent, the trail flattens out for the first 15 minutes. When you reach the junction (see left loop description), go straight instead of turning left to enjoy head-on Mt. Erie views and the madrona grove. Overall, the trail is the reverse of above, with a footbridge over a creek with small waterfalls in spring (above center), then a long steep hill ascending out of the valley, ending in rolling short hills. 

ACFL Trail #210

Start at lower Access point for south Heart Lake trailhead.

Start at lower Access point for south Heart Lake trailhead.

#210 South trailhead (from #212)
1.9-4 miles roundtrip / 40 min.-1.5 hours
(no loop unless you walk back to car along Heart Lake Road)
Description:  Forested, fairly flat to short, easy hills
Views:  Heart Lake (including lake access for fishing during season)
Directions: From Anacortes, drive south out of town on H Avenue, which becomes Heart Lake Road. Park in lot at the base of Mt. Erie or in parking spaces on the east shoulder of Heart Lake Road. Walk west across Heart Lake Road to #212 trailhead.

Turn right at the first junction and follow trail #212 for ¼ mile to the #210 trailhead on the right. The first “big” hill down will be one of only 2-3 relatively easy hills on the trail – the south side of #210 is a gently rolling trail with limited traffic, so perfect for a lazy day hike. You’ll enjoy partial to full views of Heart Lake along the way – take one of the very short connectors to the shoreline if you want a full lake view.

Some of the oldest Douglas firs, cedars and big leaf maples in the forestlands line this trail. With a fairly dense forest canopy for most of the trail, this makes a perfect misty day hike.