Max's Shortcut Loop

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Hidden on the backside of the Blanchard Mountain and Oyster Dome lookout are some of the fastest flowing single-track mountain bike descents.

Written by

Brian Bates

Destination Distance From Downtown

15.0 miles


3 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

1-2 hours



Dog Friendly


Fees Permits

Discover Pass required for parking

Topographical Map

Link to Map


The trails on Blanchard Mountain often get overlooked, seeing as how Galbraith claims the 'King of Bellingham biking' title. But Max's Shortcut is a thrilling single-track, with a fast and flowy descent that bikers yearn for. 
On Blanchard Mountain, there are five different ways up/down: 
Lily Lake Trail is the easiest of the crop, and is the most common trail up to get to the fun descents. From the upper trailhead (recommended), ascend Lily Lake Trail for 1.3 miles. It is a gentle uphill, heading west, with one major switchback east. You'll encounter Max's Shortcut trail on your left: ignore it this time, it's the bottom. Continue up Lily Lake Trail for about another mile, and when you see the fork, head towards Lily Lake (will be signed). You'll continue for almost half a mile, but right before you get to the lake, take the trail to the left. This is Max's Shortcut. Descend it for nearly 1.5 miles. When you reach the fork at the bottom, take the left turn towards Lily Lake Trail, which you'll encounter after about half a mile. Then take a right and head down Lily Lakes Trail to the car. 
Getting There: From Bellingham, head south on I-5 for ten minutes. Take exit 240 west on Lake Samish Road, then left on Barrell Springs Road. Take a right on logging road B-1000, towards Blanchard Mountain Trails. Continue up the logging road, PAST the lower trailhead, and after a mile you'll find yourself at the Lily and Lizard Lake Trailhead. Park here. You'll need a Discover Pass: you can use your smartphone to buy them online, in the moment, and write the confirmation number and ID on some scrap paper and place in the windshield. 
Happy riding!

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Max's Shortcut Loop

Lily and Lizard Lake Trailhead
Bow, WA, 98232
48.534531, -122.429642

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