The Friends of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands is offering plenty of ways for people to get out and into the forests this fall on guided hikes.
All community hikes are free, and no registration is required.
Please leave pets at home.
All-ages hikes start at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.
• Big Beaver Pond Walkabout, Sept. 29. Begin the autumn season with a hike in beaver pond territory. Meet at the 37th and A Avenue kiosk entrance to the ACFL.
• Sugarloaf Mountain, Oct. 13. The group will hike from the dark woods at the base to the summit view. Meet at the trailhead on Ray Auld Drive at the bottom of Mount Erie just off of Heart Lake Road.
• Bat Cave, Oct. 27. The annual bat cave exploration is fun for everyone, and costumes and flashlights are welcome. Meet at the Little Cranberry Lake parking lot on the north end of the lake.
• Whistle Lake, Nov. 10. Late fall in the woods is a time of hushed beauty. Meet at the Whistle Lake parking lot at the end of Whistle Lake Road.
Senior-Adult hikes are for adults who want to learn more about the forest through easy hikes. They are at 10 a.m. Fridays.
• Big Beaver Pond Loop, Oct. 12. This gentle, just-over-one-mile hike will go past three distinct wetlands and through two watersheds. Expect many bird sightings. Meet at the end of 32nd St west off of D Ave.
• Heart Lake Old Growth, Nov. 9. The best remaining stand of Puget Sound lowland old growth forest is on Fidalgo Island. Meet at the base of Mount Erie on Ray Auld Drive.
• Whistle Lake, Dec. 7. Enjoy the deep water jewel of the forest. Meet at the Whistle Lake parking lot at the end of Whistle Lake Road.
Extra-gentle hikes are each a mile or less on gentle trails and last about an hour.
• Sugarloaf Mountain Old Growth, 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24. Tucked in to the bottom of Sugarloaf lies a trail through ancient trees. Meet at the base of Mount Erie on Ray Auld Drive.
• Whistle Lake Madrona Point, 9 to 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14. The group will walk to the lake on a wide gravel road and enjoy the view. Meet at the Whistle Lake parking lot.
The Friends of the Forest also host other special events. Its annual benefit event will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed. This is a fun-filled evening with live music, dinner, silent and short live auction. The fundraising party provides the primary support for Forest Education and Stewardship Programs.