Lily and Lizard Lakes, located on the east side of Blanchard Mountain, make for a great introductory (or nearly urban) backpacking site largely due to the ease of the trail. The lakes can also be accessed from the more difficult Oyster Dome trail, but we recommend approaching them via the Lily Lake trail located near the Samish Overlook off of Barrel Springs Road in Alger. From this trailhead, the overall elevation gain is only around 700 feet.
At the 1.5 mile mark, the trail will come to a junction. Bear right to continue on the lake trail. Max's Shortcut, part of the PNT, is not really a shortcut at all. I personally don't recommend it—switchbacks, and roller coaster-like grade didn't really add any sense that we were cutting corners with this route. We have a theory that back when the area was used for logging, there was one character on the crew named Max—and he was either a kook when it came to trailblazing, or liked to play jokes on his fellow loggers when it came to his namesake trail.
Washington Trails Association (WTA):
The Open Road Before Me (Nathan's perspective on our backpacking trip):