Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
3 Hikes Paired with Happy Hours Around Bellingham
Brandon Fralic

Whether you love craft beer or hiking, you don’t need to decide in Bellingham. Fortunately, we have more than our fair share of both in Whatcom County, with an abundance of trails and lots of cool spots to grab a drink.

Since it never hurts to save a few bucks, why not pair your next hike with a happy hour?

These year-round trails are accessible during any season. Here are three of our favorite hike and happy hour pairings in Bellingham and Whatcom County.

1. Chanterelle Trail + The Fork at Agate Bay

Chanterell Trail, Lake Whatcom Park

Gain – 1,000 feet

Highest point – 1,000 feet

4.8 miles, roundtrip

Dogs are allowed, on a leash

Chanterelle Trail. Brandon Fralic photo.

After reading Todd’s blog on the new Chanterelle Trail, my partner and I set out on a mellow March afternoon. We only encountered a few other trail users that day, making for a quiet and contemplative hike among the forest. At 4.8 miles roundtrip with 1,000 feet of elevation gain, the Chanterelle Trail is rated “moderate” for difficulty by Whatcom County Parks. We took our time ambling along. At the top, Lake Whatcom stretched out below us for miles. We peered across its placid surface to Lookout Mountain — another hiking destination for another day.

To get here, drive along North Shore Drive towards Lake Whatcom Park. From here you will want to park in the first parking lot available. There are kiosks with maps that will clearly state which way leads towards Chantrelle Trail.

Also, there is no parking pass or fee entry needed.

The Fork at Agate Bay

Happy Hour

Daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

On the drive back to Bellingham, we made a mandatory stop at The Fork at Agate Bay. A 5-minute drive from the trailhead, it’s the only place serving beer on the east side of Lake Whatcom. And while this elegant restaurant may not seem an obvious choice for a couple of semi-grubby hikers, we were warmly welcomed during happy hour at the bar.

Offered daily from 4 pm to 6 pm, The Fork’s happy hour features a surprisingly good deal for beer lovers: $3 drafts. Local breweries like Kulshan and Chuckanut are represented on the six-tap list. Pick your pint, then pair it with a tasty firebread.

 

 

The dining room at the Fork. Photo courtesy of the Fork.

2. Oyster Dome + Chuckanut Manor

Oyster Dome

Gain: 1050 feet

Highest point: 2025 feet

Length: 5 miles round trip

Dogs are allowed, on a leash

Oyster Dome at sunset. Brandon Fralic photo.

Perhaps the most iconic trail near Bellingham, Oyster Dome draws people from Seattle and around the northwest. And as of 2016, the new and improved trail is a joy to hike. Forget the steep, rooty, scrambly sections that this trail was once known for. The Washington Trails Association (WTA) put in countless volunteer hours improving the Oyster Dome trail. On my most recent hike here, parts of the trail were nearly unrecognizable — in a good way.

We started from Chuckanut Drive to take advantage of happy hour post-hike. Be sure to park carefully in the shoulder here, as vehicles may be towed for parking on the white line. Look both ways before crossing Chuckanut Drive and starting up the trail.

Alternatively, you can begin from the Samish Overlook — a paved parking lot with restrooms and fantastic valley views. Wherever you choose to begin, savor serene San Juan Island views from the top of Oyster Dome before returning the way you came.

Be sure to note that there is a parking pass required to go on this hike. There is a kiosk nearby for day passes, but you can find out more details about the Discover Pass here.

Chuckanut Manor

Happy hour

Tuesday through Sundays  2 p.m.- 5 p.m.

Offered in the Sunset Lounge and Deck only

Some food highlights include Blau oysters in four different ways, street tacos, seasonal tapas

Some drink highlights include all beers on tap, two house wines, martinis, Manhattans and house-made red and white sangria on special

Happy hour item. Photo courtesy of Chuckanut Manor.

Located half a mile south of the Oyster Dome trailhead on Chuckanut Drive, Chuckanut Manor is the nearest happy hour hotspot. From 2 pm to 5 pm, Tuesday-Sunday, enjoy oysters, tacos, tapas, and more with magnificent Samish Bay views. The seven microbrews on tap are $4.50 during happy hour. You can expect Bellingham brews from the likes of Boundary Bay, Kulshan, and Wander. Or you can choose from the wide selection of house cocktails and martinis — the perfect complement to a Samish Bay sunset.

The perfect patio for happy hour. Photo courtesy of Chuckanut Manor.

3. Pine and Cedar Lakes + Lovitt Restaurant 

Pine and Cedar Lakes

Gain: 1400 feet

Highest point: 1600 feet

Length: 5 miles

Dogs are allowed, on a leash

Quiet reflections #freshair #freshthoughts #bellingham #springdaysarecoming

A post shared by Leigh Rakow (@mostlikeleigh) on

Another classic trail in the Chuckanuts, Pine and Cedar Lakes provides an excellent workout. Gaining 1,400 feet in 5 miles roundtrip, the trail takes off steeply uphill before mellowing out and delivering hikers to two pretty lakes. A nice loop trail encircles Cedar Lake, complete with benches for a leisurely sit by the lake. Nearby, Pine Lake has always been my favorite of the two. Brave the narrow boardwalk out to Pine’s peninsula for a perfect lunch spot by the lake.

Be sure to note that there is a parking pass required to go on this hike. There is a kiosk nearby for day passes, but you can find out more details about the Discover Pass here. 

Lovitt Restaurant

Happy hour

Tuesdays through Sundays 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Some food highlights include poutine, cheese plates, salmon tacos and salmon sliders

Some drink highlights include $1 off local drafts and glasses of wine, $5 off bottles of wine, and seasonal cocktails like a mojito

Less than a 10-minute drive from the trailhead, you’ll find yourself in Fairhaven just in time for happy hour. Served from 3 pm to 5:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday, Lovitt’s lovely happy hour combines local liquids with “slow foods” like their daily flatbread special.

Order a microbrew or glass of wine ($1 off during happy hour) and take it slow — something about this speakeasy-style sunken space inspires relaxed conversation. As an added bonus, this is one of my favorite places to take the kids when my nieces are in town. A large play area provides peace of mind for the adults. Love it!

For more trails and ales in Whatcom County, check out the following links:

Also, see our Beer page for more posts about Bellingham Craft Beer.

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About the Author:

Freelance writer Brandon Fralic has called Bellingham home since 2006. He writes about the outdoors, travel, and craft beer for a variety of regional publications. Brandon co-founded Beers at the Bottom in 2013 to highlight Pacific Northwest trails and ales. His first book, Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest, was released in 2018.