Activities

Ready to Come Out and Play?

Whether you’re staying at Hotel Bellingham, Washington, for business or a getaway, you can take a moment to explore the area’s outdoor recreation. From the glaciers of Mt. Baker and the greenery of the surrounding national, state and county parks, to the currents of the Nooksack and the Salish Sea, we are a world-class outdoor recreation playground. Welcome to Basecamp Bellingham. We’ll see you outside.

Bicycling

Biking is one of the most popular activities in the Bellingham area on trails, tracks and city streets. Whatcom County also offers endless country roads and miles of trails to explore.

Bikes can be rented in Bellingham at Jack’s Bicycle Center and Fairhaven Bicycle, as well as in Birch Bay at Paddle and Pedal. See contact info below.

The following is a list of ideas for local trails and bike events, as well as links to maps and guides.

Mountain Biking

Bellingham Park Trails

Printed city trail maps are available at the Visitors Information Center .

The Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department also has an extensive Bellingham Trail Guide available in pdf format.

For an insider's perspective also read Best Bets for Mountain Biking in Bellingham by Todd.

Popular gravel trails and off-road trails within city limits include:

  • Cornwall Park Trail (1.5 miles) – in Cornwall Park
  • Interurban Trail (7 Miles) – Fairhaven to Larrabee State Park
  • Lake Padden Park Trail (2.6 miles) – around the lake
  • Railroad Trail (3.5 miles) – King street to Alabama & Vining St
  • South Bay Trail (2 miles) – connects Fairhaven, Boulevard Park and Downtown
  • Whatcom Falls Park Trails (3.5 miles) – trail in and around park
  • North Lake Whatcom Park “Hertz” Trail (3 miles one way) – runs along the east shore of the lake. Great Views and a waterfall.
  • Lake Padden single track trails (5.1 miles) – excellent single track trails connect with lake Padden Park trail. Access in park or parking lot on Samish Way about 1 mile south of park entrance.

Galbraith Mountain

Ranked among the Top 10 places to ride in the nation by Mountain Bike Magazine, Galbraith Mountain is the area between Lake Padden and Lake Whatcom officially named North Lookout Mountain. Galbraith Mountain is privately owned land and the trails are maintained for non-motorized use by volunteers in the local group WMBC (Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition)

Civic Field Dirt Jump Track

WMBC also maintains the Bellingham Dirt Jump Park at Civic Field, located near the skate board park on Puget Street one block south of Lakeway Drive. The park includes a variety of jumps including 2-foot, 3-foot, 5-foot and 7-foot for riders of all ability levels. A 15-foot high roll produces the needed speed for the runs.

Logging Roads and County Trails

Some trails on Chuckanut Mountain are available for biking, as well as US Forest Service and logging roads in the region. Contact a bike shop or the Forest Service for details.

Road Biking

Bellingham

Bellingham in general has several streets with designated bike lanes. For low traffic biking, there are several neighborhood, waterfront and park routes. Squalicum Harbor is a great place for a short scenic ride. The city has published a Bellingham Bicycle Routes map , which designates the best roads for biking and proximity to connecting trails. Favorite local road routes and weekly rides information is maintained by the volunteer organization Mount Baker Bicycle Club .

Whatcom County

County roads offer sweeping views of rural splendor, Mt. Baker, and the waterfront. A Whatcom County Bike Map is available from Whatcom Smart Trips.

Drayton Harbor / Semiahmoo Spit, Blaine

This area is officially recognized as the most northerly “Important Bird Area of Washington.” The pristine, shallow marine habitat with extensive intertidal mudflats is adjacent to the U.S.-Canadian border in Blaine, WA. Loons, Brant, Dunlin, Great Blue Herons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, mallards, ducks, grebes and many other migrating aquatic birds are common here in great numbers, carefully eluding Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons who nest high in the surrounding evergreens. Take I-5 Exit 276 for Marine Park and Exit 274 for Semiahmoo. Excellent site for tideland birds, especially in winter. Some of the species that nest in the area include: Cormorants, Canada Geese, Gulls, Blue Herons, Hooded Mergansers, Bald Eagles, Mallards and Peregrine Falcons. Migrating or resting varities include: Loons, Grebes, Brants, Scoters, Ducks, Gulls, Terns, Sandpipers, Goldeneyes, and many more. Best birding is 2-3 hours before incoming tides.

Birch Bay State Park

Take I-5 Exit 266, Grandview Road. Drive west 8 miles and follow signs to the park. Likely saltwater species include Common Loon, Western Grebe; Surf, White-winged, and Black Scoters; Harlequin Duck, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and Brants. Ring-billed, Bonaparte's and Glaucous-winged Gulls are possible, as are Wood Ducks and Bald Eagles. Spirng and fall shorebirds include Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Black Turnstones and Marbled Godwits. Winter waterfowl viewing is excellent.

Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve, Birch Bay

Features 54 acres of forest, bluff and beach, with a 3/4 mile trail to spectacular viewpoints of the Strait of Georgia. A switchback path descends from the bluff to access a windswept cobbled beach. Find upland wooded habits and shore birds. Bird list is same as Birch Bay State Park. No dogs allowed. Take I-5 Exit 266 Grandview Rd. and drive west 8.5 miles then curve left on Koehn Rd.

Lakes in Whatcom County

  • Cain Lake (72 acres)
    Rainbow trout, large-mouth bass, yellow perch and kokanee. Planted with trout mid-April. Open season runs from last Sat. in April-Oct. 31. Located 9 miles SE of Bellingham. Boat launch at south end.
  • Fazon Lake (32 acres)
    Largemouth bass, bluegill, cutthroat and tiger muskies. Limits apply, check regulations. Open all year, but floating devices prohibited Oct. 7-Jan 15. Located at Everson-Goshen and E. Hemmi Rds. Boat launch.
  • Lake Padden (152 acres)
    Rainbow, kokanee and cutthroat trout. Planted mid-April. Good shore access and boat launch. No gas motors. Season runs last Sat. in April-Oct. 31. Located in Bellingham at Lake Padden Park.
  • Samish Lake (814 acres)
    Kokanee, largemouth bass, perch and cutthroat. Check regulations. Year-around with best fishing early June and Sept. Boat launch on east side (must have permit) and county park with a dock on north end. Located 6 miles south of Bellingham.
  • Silver Lake (173 acres)
    Rainbow and cutthroat trout. Planted early April. Season runs last Sat. in April-Oct. 31. Boat launch, boat rentals, camping and rustic cabins. Located in county park up Mt. Baker Hwy, 3 miles north of Maple Falls.
  • Squalicum Lake (33 acres)
    Cutthroat, Brown trout and Triploid Rainbows at this fly-fishing-only lake. Walk-in access. Year-around. Located 6 miles NE of Bellingham off Mt. Baker Hwy.
  • Terrell Lake (438 acres)
    Warmwater species: largenouth bass, yellow perch, bullhead catfish, triploid rainbows and cutthroat trout. Dock and boat launch on west shore. Open year-around. Floating devices prohibited Oct. 7-Jan 15. Located 5 miles W of Ferndale.
  • Toad Lake (29 acres)
    Trout and kokanee. Planted mid-April. Boat launch on SW end via Toad Lake Rd. Season runs last Sat. in April-Oct. 31. Located 5 miles NE of Bellingham.
  • Lake Whatcom (5,003 acres)
    Kokanee, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and yellow perch. Some limits and area closures–check regulations. Boat launch at Bloedel-Donovan Park on the northend, and launch at south end (permit required). Season runs from last Sat. in April-Oct. 31. Large lake located at east edge of Bellingham.
  • Wiser Lake (23 acres)
    Yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish. Year-around season. Boat launch. Located 3 miles SW of Lynden.

Year-round hiking is a hallmark of the Bellingham region, with easy proximity to the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Chuckanut Mountains, as well as miles of opportunities within Whatcom County. Bellingham offers an extensive system of hiking trails through city parks and greenways, where both water and mountain views are plentiful.

Below is a list of trail names and descriptions, resources, and insider blogs to inspire you. For a comprehensive guidebook, try “Hiking Whatcom County” by Ken Wilcox . The Bellingham Visitors Information Center at 904 Potter Street is open 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm offering maps and directions to help you get into the great outdoors.

For additional fun ideas visit Todd's Insider Blog on Outdoor Recreation .

 

 

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