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Best Hiking Trails near Bellingham


In the Bellingham area, there is plenty of hiking all year. The area includes hundreds of miles of trails to explore, including trails from Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Chuckanut Mountains, North Cascades National Park, and Whatcom County. The city of Bellingham also has a vast network of hiking paths that wind through municipal parks and greenways, providing both water and mountain vistas. Let's take a look at the most popular and best trails near Bellingham:

Chanterelle Trail

The Chanterelle Trail is a 4.8-mile round-trip climb with a 1,000-foot elevation gain and multiple steep switchbacks through diverse kinds of woodland. It's also the best place to see animals. At the summit, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Whatcom and Bellingham Bay, as well as the San Juan Islands and Cascades in the distance, making for the ideal background for any photograph.

Fragrance Lake

Fragrance Lake is located on Chuckanut Mountain's Larrabee State Park section. This 5.5-mile trip with a 950-foot elevation rise is suitable for hikers of all abilities. The ascent will be reasonable since you'll begin on gentle switchbacks. After approximately a mile, a marker will indicate the possibility of taking a short diversion to a viewpoint over the San Juan Islands and Bellingham Bay.

The biggest draw is, of course, Fragrance Lake, which changes color throughout the seasons. The lake certainly lives up to its name. However, the fragrance of pine comes from the old-growth Pacific Northwest trees, not the lake itself.

Oyster Dome

The most popular track in the region, Oyster Dome, offers some of the greatest vistas. After a difficult 2.5-mile, 1,050-foot climb up Blanchard Mountain, you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Lummi Island, the San Juans, Samish Bay, and the Skagit River Flats as well as Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. It provides for stunning photographs, but be wary of the abrupt drop-off.

Young children should not be brought unless they are experienced hikers. The weather (as with much of Western Washington) may be fickle at any time of year. Check the weather in Bellingham and hope for clear skies!

Stimpson Nature Reserve

Investigate this magnificent example of a low-elevation old-growth forest. In addition to enormous trees, there are little waterfalls, vivid wetlands, and peaceful ponds to explore. This is a nature refuge, and with a little patience, you may observe some of the various species that live in this unique environment. A three-mile circle leads you through an active beaver pond and a massive old-growth fir tree. This family-friendly trail does not accept bicycles or dogs.

Alger Alp

When the city of Bellingham is shrouded in fog, this may be the best place to look for the sun. This path ascends from the south to a Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNNST) portion that extends from Alger via Squire Lake Park and includes a fork to the summit of "Alger Alp." To get to the peak, you'll use ancient logging routes.

The trail begins in the valley and ascends along a ridgeline until it swings around the Alp and reaches the top. As you climb the Alp, you may see hang-gliders take off from the summit, and if the weather cooperates, you'll enjoy views of the Olympics, the Islands, Skagit Valley, Lake Whatcom, and Mount Baker.