The term “Take a Hike ” means something a little different to folks that live in Bellingham Wa. Beautiful hikes are never far from home here. There are adventures close to town, ranging in difficulty and offer amazing and diverse views of the natural landscape that makes living here a treat. Then there is also hikes and trails that take you way up into the mountains and boasts some of the most spectacular panoramic views out there. Hiking allows you to slow down and relax while getting outside so you can truly enjoy nature and escape from work and daily life.
Hiking Trails in the city
Lake Padden– 2.6 miles The trail here is very popular and well maintained. The trail is relatively flat and surrounds the peaceful Lake Padden. This trail also has options to branch off and go deeper into the woods with 5 miles of mountain bike trails and horse riding trails. This trail is good for all skill levels.
Whatcom Falls Park – 5.5 miles The miles of wide trails are gravel and the small rolling hills are doable for nearly every level of hiker. The trails wind around Whatcom Creek through the green, moss-filled forest. Oh, and there are three breathtaking waterfalls for your viewing pleasures.
Boulevard Park/ South Bay Trail – 2 miles This trail connects Fairhaven to downtown Bellingham. The boardwalk over water offers stunning views of the water and surrounding trees so don’t forget to stop at the waterfront park and breathe the fresh ocean air.
Cornwall Park – 1.5 miles This trail has a mature forest canopy and open meadows. The hiking loop roughly follows the outline of the park and is very beloved due to its vicinity to popular neighborhoods.
Railroad Trail – 3 miles This trail unlike the name says does not have any railroad tracks. It connects Bloedel Donovan Park to Memorial park. The trail is good for all skill levels and is open all year round.
Sehome Hill Arboretum – 5 miles This hike is complete with an overlook tower that provides the ultimate 360-degree view of the bay. You climb a nice wooded hill up to the observatory.
Interurban Trail – 9 miles This trail is beautifully forested and has quite the history. It used to be an actual electric railway line but is now an urban greenway that connects Fairhaven and ends at Larrabee State Park. Complete with ample mountain views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands.
Zuanich Point Park – 1 mile– The trail is a harbor side paved path that traces the waterfront from the hotel Bellwether to Zuanich Point Park. VIEWS, VIEWS, and more VIEWS. The scenery from this trail is undeniable. You have your choice of the bay, mountains, fishing vessels, yachts, and marine life.
County Hiking Trails
Hovander Homestead Park / Tennant Lake – 4 miles Located in Ferndale this park shares a trail with 624 acres of wildlife. The trail is lined with bowing trees and surrounded by acres of untouched, quiet nature. The 1.4-mile Tennant Lake Boardwalk trail offers a low-intensity, pleasant walk with a boardwalk that winds through a wooded marsh over the wetlands.
Stimpson Family Nature Reserve – 3 miles Located in Sudden Valley This trail is the ideal easy-paced hike under towering trees. Stroll through a dense forest and past a large beaver pond.
Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve –.75 miles Located in Birch Bay the hike features beautiful wildflowers and is good for all skill levels. There are 54 acres of mature forest and forested wetlands. The hike ends with a pretty steep staircase that takes you to a rocky marine shoreline.
Mountain Hiking Trails
Oyster Dome – 7.2 miles The Dome trail starts from Chuckanut Drive, and you immediately start to climb gaining approximately 2,000 feet in 3 miles, the trail is steep, rocky, and full of roots. All the effort is well worth the reward at the top. It is here, atop Blanchard Mountain, that Oyster Dome’s 200-foot rock cliff overlook awaits. Offering panoramic views from the Skagit County flats, the Olympic Mountains, and stunning Skagit Bay.
Fragrance Lake – 1.9 miles The hike starts across from the entrance to Larrabee State Park entrance. Fragrance Lake is an enjoyable day hike during any season. It is a relatively steep hike and takes you to the lake. It’s not steep enough to keep people away, but beautiful enough to make you want to work for the scenery.
Heliotrope Ridge – 5.9 miles Located near Deming this moderate hike also features forests, flowers, streams, and waterfalls. There is a fork in this trail so be on the lookout. one way takes you across Heliotrope Creek, Which depending on the season can be the most serious water crossing on the trail. The water is about ankle- deep in most places. If you don’t feel comfortable crossing Heliotrope Creek consider backtracking to the Climbers’ Trail junction which takes you to an alternative lookout. From the entire ridge though, the views are remarkable.
Yellow Aster Butte –8.5 miles This is considered a pretty strenuous hike. It is steep but rewarding. You travel through streams, and meadowlands, rock gardens with a view of the summit. Besides the breathtaking views, you will also stumble upon alluring reflecting ponds.
Skyline Divide –4.5 miles Located near Maple Falls, you head into the Baker wilderness up a trail through forests and alpine meadows. The trail wanders along Skyline Divide for another 1.5 miles, offering views of rivers, forests, and countless peaks. The views never cease to become more jaw-dropping the closer you work your way toward Mt. Baker.
Picture Lake – .5 miles The name should give you a clue! This one of the most photographed vistas in North America. Mt. Shuksan is mirrored in the lake supplying an exquisite backdrop together with colorful plant foliage and wildflowers. The trail is paved with little elevation making it great for all levels of experience.
Artist Ridge – 1-mile Trailhead starts at the very end of the highway. It is a pretty popular hike so the trail is almost always pretty visible. The color scheme here is surreal, with dark cliffs and forests against contouring quilts of snow and a deep blue sky brushed with white billowy clouds. It is a top competitor for the best viewpoint in the state.
Chain Lakes Loops Trail –6.5 miles Located near Glacier Wa, This loop has views that change at every bend. It has a few steep places making it a moderate level hike but the trail is easy to follow. This spectacular trail leads through mountain vistas, along lakeshores and heather meadows, through wildlife and blueberry bushes.
Table Mountain – 1.5 miles This hike spurs off of the Artist Point hike. The trail may be steep so watch your step as you travel through switchbacks of lava cliffs to high rising plateau. Once on top, the view is worth the sweat to get up there. Due to the loose gravel trail and no barriers around the mountain plateau, no dogs are allowed. This is not a place for small children or people with a fear of heights either.
As you can see there is an endless amount of adventures to be had hiking around Bellingham. The hardest part is just picking “ONE”. Avid hikers in this region take it very seriously and there are many clubs and associations you can join to get out there and see more than you ever thought was available. By no means is the list compiled above all the hikes in this county. They are just some of the more popular ones. Here are some more resources for you to get more info on hiking.