Parking near the water tank at the end of 29th Street, we grabbed our Anacortes Community Forest Land’s (ACFL) map for Little Cranberry Lake and began our hike. With an incredible maze of trails through the forest, around several lakes, beaver ponds, swamps and wetlands, I would not recommend hiking too far into this reserve without a map. Following the shore of Little Cranberry Lake and as close to the perimiter of the Big Beaver Pond as possible, our slightly over four-mile hike took us along ACFL Trail Numbers 104, 102, 100, 101, 132, 106, 10, 124, 108, 123 and 103 before looping us back to 104, and we pulled out our map several times in order to confirm trail numbers for our desired route.
Little Cranberry Lake gets its name from the wild cranberries that grow on grassy bogs along the southern portion of the lake. With lots of downed trees, snags and dead trees still standing, the boggy portion of the lake is a bit more wild. Venturing slightly off the beaten trail a time or two, this was a fun hike! Go here – Slightly Off the Beaten Trail – to see the slideshow on YouTube of some of those slightly-off-the-beaten-trail photos.
A special treat along the trail, the lovely blooms of the calypso orchid.
We stopped to enjoy the sunshine and a view of the lake when the trail left the forest to cross these large rocks.
Extending our hike after we had completed the loop around Little Cranberry Lake, we continued on around the Big Beaver Pond.
For more information on the Anacortes Community Forest Lands and Little Cranberry Lake, go here –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacortes_Community_Forest_Lands. Detailed trail maps are available for purchase from the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce and the Mount Erie Grocery.