ACFL

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.

 

ACFL Trails #26 - #207 - #21 - #204 (Mt. Erie to Whistle Lake)

To Whistle Lake: 2 mi. RT/60 min. – the shortest hiking route to Whistle Lake without driving there (can hike further, depending on how far you want to walk around Whistle Lake)
Description: Forested, hilly with one short steep section
Views: Whistle Lake

Directions: Follow signs to Mt. Erie and drive 1.4 mi. up the Mt. Erie Road until you see this sign on the left. If the three trailhead parking spots are taken, use the shoulder just ahead on the right.

Warm up on mostly flat trail #26 for .21 mi. then turn left onto #207 at the Whistle Lake sign (below left) and head downhill through heavy ferns and light forest. (When you decide how far to walk around Whistle Lake, remember that you will have to ascend this fairly steep slope at the end of your hike!)

After .4 mi. turn right at the broad path that’s #21 and follow it for .25 mi. to #204 that skirts the north side of the lake. As you walk along the lake, you can take various short trails on the right to get better lake views (or even get in for a swim if it’s warm enough).

The mileage above is based on turning around at first view of the lake – if you hike the entire lake loop on #204, then #205 (south side) and use #22 to connect back to #21, it adds 2.4 mi. to your overall hike.

View from north side of Whistle Lake, the most popular swimming lake on Fidalgo Island.

ACFL Trail #248

.5 miles roundtrip (400-ft. elevation rise) / 10 min.
Description:  
Forested
Views:  Connects to #247 trails with views of Lake Erie, Mt. Erie and Lake Campbell
Directions: From Anacortes, drive south out of town on H Avenue, which becomes Heart Lake Road. Trailhead parking is on the left ½ mile south of the “twin trees” (see photo below left). From Hwy. 20, turn west on Lake Campbell Road, then right at the Lake Erie Grocery. The trailhead is almost immediately on the right, just after the white fenced yard.

There’s no warming up – trail #248 immediately climbs 400 ft. Recently on the way down, I passed a first-timer to this hike who said, “Why would anyone do this for fun?” and the obvious answer is, “Because it feels so good when you come back down!”

There are many rewards for this immediate expenditure of energy: access to the #247 trails that provide views of Lake Erie, Mt. Erie and many big leaf maples and Pacific madrones, rock falls and old cedars. 

Known as the climbers’ trail, #248 and its connecting #247 trail(s) indeed serve as the springboard for those climbing the face of Mt. Erie. 

At the end of the steep initial climb, pause to catch your breath and to decide whether you’ll choose the left fork (see northbound #247) or right fork (see south & eastbound #247). Both offer lake views and pleasantly challenging ups and downs, so either one is a winning choice.