Miles: 7.7 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1455 ft
My Hiking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
I decided to start a new tradition and work off some Christmas eve dinner before I fattened myself. Needing a place near by (cant be late to dinner) I went with another one of the easily accessible Chuckanut mountain trails, the Madrone Crest.
There are a variety of ways that the terminus of this trail can be reached and not all are created equal. For this day I felt that a loop would be best. This way I could experience more than one trail and keep the scenery fresh.
The loop I used was to take the North Lost lake trail until it meets with Salal trail eventually meeting with the Madrone Crest trail. On the return trip I then took the Salal trail to get back to the trail head.
This trail is just what you would expect from the Chuckanuts. Very wooded but filled with freeway noise. The trail (road) was fairly muddy but nothing out of the norm for Washington in December. The Madrone Crest itself has a nice opening where, provided the sky isn't foggy, there should be an excellent view of Baker and the Sisters as there is a wide opening in the trees facing east.
An enjoyable day considering the time restraint I was under but it left me desiring something more. Luckily snow has been falling near Baker and soon snowshoeing season can begin.
Take I-5 Exit 250 and follow Old Fairhaven Parkway / SR 11 west 1.3 miles to 12th Street. Turn Left and follow Chuckanut Drive / SR11 south 1.5 miles to trailhead parking area on the left.
Miles: 4.9 for both loops
Elevation Gain: 430 ft according to my GPS. WTA and others have gain that differs from this
My Hiking Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Unable to reach the mountains due to current lack of gas money (college is a pain), and needing to feel fresh air on my face, the wife and I headed for one of Bellingham's many expansive parks. The Stimpson Family Nature Preserve lies next to Whatcom lake. It has one fairly long loop and an attached smaller loop trail.
The trail starts from a small parking lot along Lake Louise road. Almost immediately after beginning there a small bench and what a nearby map refers to as a “lookout” but through all the trees it is difficult to see much of Beaver pond. At the first trail junction, a sign points to the left but I hate to follow signs and we decided to follow the loop backwards by going right. This turned out to be a great idea since it seemed to be relatively steeper than the other side of the loop.
For the most part the larger loop is a nice wooded walk with some footbridges and wildlife. The best part was coming around a corner and coming face to face with a deer (see below). Definitely a treat for being only a few miles from downtown Bellingham.
The Geneva pond loop was a nice detour. It was short and had far better views of the pond compared to the beaver pond overlook. It also has a nice open area at one end with a bench. The trail is nearly level and takes no time at all.
From I-5 take exit 253 and head east on Lakeway Drive. That will become cable st. and shortly after there will be a crosswalk with a yellow sign above it. Just after this turn right onto Austin Street. Austin
street will become Lake Louise Road. The parking lot will be on your left.
Miles: 4.8 Round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
My Hiking Time: 3 hrs with lots of picture breaks
With school out for winter break, and the madness of finals through, the woods seemed like the perfect retreat. As I have already hiked through much of the Chuckanuts here in Bellingham, I decided to look for a new experience and landed on Cedar lake.
The trail starts off climbing a wide path, more of a road, up the mountain. For most of this hike this will be your path as it continues to climb. Although I generally like to say all the good about a hike that I can, I am at a loss on this one. The slog up the main hill is uninteresting at best with very little to distract your attention from the constant rushing sound of the nearby freeway. That being said the hike does have its good side as well.
Once you crest the top of the hill the sound of the freeway begins to fade as the silence of the woods takes over. From here the hike becomes a nice stroll through green wilderness until you reach the trail junction for pine and cedar lakes. The two lakes are very close to each other and can easily be done in one trip. However, true to lazy college student fashion I chose to only visit one. Cedar lake is a nice little lake with a decent path that goes at least part way around the lake. It also has easy access to a viewpoint of Mt Baker and the San Juan's, but with the heavy fog in the air it seemed best to just enjoy the lake.
While not the most scenic hike, it was a nice escape from the city and life for a few hours. If you are looking for a nice laid back hike that won't take up your whole day then this would be the perfect solution.
Driving Directions per the city of Bellingham
Take I-5 Exit 250 and follow Old Fairhaven Parkway / SR 11 west 0.1 miles to 30th Street. Turn left on 30th Street for 0.9 miles to Old Samish Road. Turn left on Old Samish road for 1.3 miles to trailhead parking area on the right.
My name is Abrahm and I am a college student, and outdoor enthusiast . I spend much of my free time wandering through and photographing the great Pacific Northwest state of Washington.
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