Monday, January 1st, 2018
Winter Trails Paired with Seasonal Ales in Bellingham and Whatcom County
Brandon Fralic

This winter, don’t let the cooler temps keep you indoors. Get out on one of Whatcom County’s numerous trails, many of which are accessible year-round and (mostly) snow-free. You don’t have to go far. In this roundup, I’ve found a few trails close to town — all of which are near a local brewery tasting room. Because whether you hike, run, or ride, beer tastes better after an outdoor adventure.

Bellingham: Whatcom Falls

Stay close to town with a walk at Whatcom Falls Park. Nestled up next to Lake Whatcom with 5.5 miles of trail running through it, this 241-acre city park provides plenty of space for walkers, runners, and waterfall lovers. The falls themselves are booming during winter. Take advantage of the treecover on a drizzly day — then dry off down the street at K2.

Brewery: Kulshan K2

The second location of Kulshan Brewing, K2 is located conveniently close to Whatcom Falls Park. This winter, don’t miss their Royal Tannenbaum Christmas Ale — made with spruce and fir from a local tree farm. Or warm up with Russian Imperial Stout, a bold beer that was recently awarded double gold in Sip Northwest’s 2017 Best of the Northwest awards. And don’t forget Kitten Mittens Winter Ale — a tried and true seasonal favorite.

Fairhaven: Interurban Trail

Fun fact: you can follow the Interurban Trail from Fairhaven to the Chuckanut Mountains and back for a laid back car-free adventure. Take advantage of the ample free parking along McKenzie Avenue, then head a couple blocks south on 10th Street to pick up the Interurban Trail. From here you can walk, bike, or run for miles, entering the Chuckanuts via Arroyo Park.

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Trail opportunities are endless at Arroyo. Follow the Interurban Trail southwest to watch a winter sunset from Woodstock Farm or Teddy Bear Cove on Chuckanut Bay. Alternatively, head east from Arroyo Park to access Chuckanut Falls, Chuckanut Ridge, and countless other destinations in the mountains.

Brewery: Stones Throw Brewing

Back in Fairhaven, stop by Stones Throw Brewing to warm up (or cool down) after your Interurban outing. “The closest pint to adventure”, this brewery is right around the corner from the Interurban Trail’s 10th Street starting point. Sample Après Snow Day Winter Ale in the cozy taproom, or take one to-go. Snow Day is Stones Throw’s first beer available in bottles.

North Whatcom County: Semiahmoo Spit

Fancy a saunter along the spit? This 0.8-mile paved stretch of trail is as flat and straight as they come, promising easy access for trail users of all abilities. It’s also completely exposed, and therefore an excellent place from which to observe Mount Baker and various Canadian peaks on a clear winter day. Best to stay away during exceptionally wet and stormy weather though, for lack of cover. Walk the trail down and take the beach back, watching for a variety of birds along the way. Then peer across Drayton Harbor to the town of Blaine — your destination for a bottle or two of Atwood Ales beer.

Taphouse: Drayton Harbor Oyster Company

#Festive as #Shuck on a #Fridayyy

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Because Atwood Ales’ farmhouse brewery is not open to the public, Drayton Harbor Oyster Company in Blaine acts as their unofficial taproom. Typically not much of an oyster person myself, I can assure you that their oysters are darn tasty. So drop in for fresh oysters after your walk, paired with a pint of Dark Harbor Oyster Stout. This beer is a collaboration with the oyster company, and it comes with a chilling story: “In the fall and winter, major low tides occur at night, leaving our local oyster farmers to brave the ‘Dark Harbor’ to work the tide flats and harvest their bounty.” Brr!

All of these trails — along with dozens of other year-round options — can be found in the new guidebook, Urban Trails: Bellingham by Craig Romano. Seeking snow? Check our Snow Sports page for snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding and more.

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.