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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
County roads offer sweeping views of rural splendor, Mt. Baker, and the waterfront. A Whatcom County Bike Map is available from Whatcom Smart Trips.
Many wide flat trails in local parks and along the waterfront are great routes for families with young children. Read Start Your Adventure at Semiahmoo by Todd.
Whatcom County, in the northwest corner of Washington State, is home to six key locations on the Audubon Society's Great Washington State Birding Trail, Cascade Loop . Patient bird-watchers, looking to fill in their checklists, find a rich variety of viewing sites to spot hundreds of species, especially waterfowl and birds of prey.
Bald Eagle viewing
A favorite with visitors, Bald Eagles are easiest to find during winter when they feed on spawning salmon in the rivers. One good spot is on Mosquito Lake Road near Deming. From Bellingham head east on the Mt. Baker Highway for 16 miles, turn right on Mosquito Lake Road, then drive 1 mile to the bridge. Another area is the Deming Homestead Eagle Park. Drive east on SR 542 just past SR 9 (south) and turn right on Truck Rd. Parking lot is on the right.
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 .
Bellingham Parks and Trails
- Bellingham Trail Guide
- Boulevard Park / South Bay Trail – 2 miles of trail
Waterfront park with great views of Bellingham Bay Trail connects Fairhaven District to downtown Bellingham with a section of the boardwalk over water. Best access is at the park or in Fairhaven at 10th & Mill St.
- Lake Padden Park – 2.6 miles around lake
The trail skirts this serene city park lake. There's also 5 miles of bridal and mountain bike trails. Take I-5 exit 252 & drive southeast 2 miles.
- Whatcom Falls Park – 5 1/2 miles of trail
Trails braid around Whatcom Creek in this woodland park. Features a waterfall and old stone bridge. Connects with Bloedel Donovan Park at Whatcom Lake. Take I-5 exit 253 and drive 2 miles east on Lakeway Dr. Or begin the Whatcom Creek Trail in Maritime Heritage Park in downtown Bellingham. Read Todd's Story: Up Whatcom Creek – Without a Paddle
- Cornwall Park – 1.5 miles of trail
Wooded park with many recreational amenities. Excellent for viewing a wide variety of trees and Squalicum Creek. Display rose garden during summer. Take I-5 exit 256 and drive 1/2 mile south on Meridian St.
- Fairhaven Park – 1/2 mile loop within park, and beyond
Adjacent to Padden Creek, this park features many recreational amenities. The loop trail connects with the Interurban Trail. Located 1/2 mile south of the Fairhaven District, on Chuckanut Drive. Read Todd's Story: Frolicking in Fairhaven Park Forest
- Zuanich Point Park / Squalicum Harbor – 1 mile of trail
Paved trail runs from Hotel Bellwether around the harbor to Zuanich Point Park. Beautiful views of the bay and boats. Restaurants. Parking.
- Interurban Trail – 9 miles of trail
Trail connects the Fairhaven District with Larrabee State Park, running adjacent to Chuckanut Drive most of the way. Switchbacks go through Arroyo Park, or you may skirt around the park on paved roads if bicycling. There are trailheads with parking in Fairhaven Park, on Old Fairhaven Parkway, Old Samish Highway and Chuckanut Dr.
- Railroad Trail – 3 miles of trail
A gentle grade trail through neighborhoods. Connects Memorial Park with Bloedel Donovan Park. Views of the bay from the bridge. Look for marsh birds There are several access points or begin at one of the parks.
- Sehome Hill Arboretum – 5 miles of trail system
Wooded hill adjacent to Western Washington University. View of bay from observation tower at the summit. May drive to the top of the hill and park. I-5 exit 252, left on Bill McDonald Pkwy. & right on 25th St. Read Todd's Story: Catch the Sunset over Bellingham Bay from the Sehome Arboretum Tower
County Parks & Trails
- Hovander Homestead Park / Tennant Lake (Ferndale) – 4 miles of trail
A 1 1/2 mile trail & boardwalk meanders through a wetland marsh at Tennent Lake. Climb a viewing tower, too! A 1/2 mile trail connects the lake with Hovander's “big red barn.” There are also 2 miles of trail running along the river dike of the Nooksack River. Take I-5 exit 262 and head west toward Ferndale on Main Street. At the railroad underpass turn south onto Homestead Road and follow the signs.
- North Lake Whatcom Park / Hertz Trail (Bellingham) – 3 miles of trail
A level scenic lakeside trail snuggled tightly between Stewart Mountain and Lake Whatcom. Drive around the north end of the lake and almost to the end of North Shore Road to get to the parking lot and trailhead.
- Stimpson Family Nature Reserve (Sudden Valley) – 3 mile loop trail
Stroll through a dense forest and past a large beaver pond. Cougars have been sighted in the area so pay attention. Water crossings have new wooden bridges. Take Lakeway Drive east from the freeway. Stay right on all the forks in the road until you see the sign for Lake Louise. Turn right on Austin Road (turns into Lk. Louise Rd.) and follow it 1.6 miles to a small signed parking area on the left. Read Todd's Story: Strolling (or trail running) through Stimpson Family Reserve
- Semiahmoo Spit Trail (Blaine) – 3/4 miles paved and 3/4 mile beach walk
Easy paved trail with scenic water views next to Semiahmoo Resort. Great for a family bike ride with young children, or for bird watching. And, venture to the other side of the spit for a beach walk. Take I-5 exit 270 and follow the signs to Semiahmoo Resort (about 9 miles).
- Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve (Birch Bay) – 3/4 mile trail
Features 54 acres of forest, bluff and beach, with a 3/4 mile fully accessible trail to spectacular viewpoints of the Strait of Georgia and San Juan Islands. A switchback path descends from the bluff to access a windswept cobble beach. Take I-5 Exit 266 Grandview Rd. and drive west 8.5 miles then curve left on Koehn Rd.