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Bellingham has quick access to a wide-variety of the best of PNW trails for both urban running and trail running. In town you can run up rain-forested hills past giant waterfalls and streams or run along the ferny and mossy shores of one of Bellingham’s large lakes or along the shore of Bellingham Bay. Home of the Chuckanut 50k, Bellingham and Whatcom County are filled with routes and trails for the ideal run.
For more specific information about outdoor recreation on state and federal lands in Whatcom County view these links:
- Washington State Parks (Larrabee, Birch Bay, Peace Arch)
- Washington Dept of Natural Resources (Blanchard Mountain)
- Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife
- Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest
- North Cascades National Park
It is important to remember to Recreate Responsibly and follow all safety guidelines.
Urban Running Routes:
- South Bay Trail: 2.5 miles each way – 5 miles round trip – this run takes you along Bellingham Bay and across Taylor Dock over the Bay itself. Start in Fairhaven at the Village Green and go north, or start at Boundary Bay Brewery and go south. It’s a spectacular run on a sunny day with views of Lummi Island, the Chuckanut Mountains and all the activities that the sea provides
- Cornwall Park: 1.1 mile loop – Cornwall Park has a wonderful rolling trail through the woods of this popular park, well as a few secondary trails for a forested, quiet run in the middle of town.
- Interurban Trail: (south of Bellingham) 2 miles each way – 4 miles round trip – from the Fairhaven Village Green, head south on 10th street to the trailhead, and follow the Interurban Trail south. This run meanders through Padden Creek area then towards the south part of town in the forest. Railroad graded hills and a forgiving crushed gravel path make this run forgiving and fun!
- Interurban Trail to Larrabee State Park: 7 miles one way – 14 miles round trip – continuation of the interurban run – continue down the hill and into Arroyo Park, running along beautiful Chuckanut Creek, then climb back out of the valley onto the Interurban trail south to Larrabee State Park. If this is a little long, but sounds amazing…there is also parking at Arroyo Park, which will cut off 4 miles and make it a 5 mile round trip – 10 miles total run.
- Lake Padden: 2.6 miles around the lake – this rolling terrain run is another Bellingham staple. Run around beautiful Lake Padden, and let all the activities on the lake take away the effort of the day. There are also well marked technical trails in the surrounding hills, which are much more vigorous, and there are maps at the park for these with details.
- Railroad Trail from Memorial Park to Whatcom Falls Park/Bloedel Donovan Park: 3 miles one way – 6 miles round trip – this crushed gravel takes you from Memorial park up towards Lake Whatcom. Views from the Alabama Street pedestrian bridge are amazing (this is an incredible run at sunset) and this takes you into the Whatcom Falls series of trails if you are looking to add on.
- Whatcom Falls Park: various distances – trails in and around our signature waterfall and the Whatcom Creek facilities. There are many little loops and such with this run of various distances, but be sure to get a signature Bellingham picture at the falls on the amazing bridge.
- Zuanich Point: various distances – out and back of 3.5 miles – From the parking lot on Roeder and Bellewether Way, this paved path goes around the beautiful Hotel Bellwether, around Squalicum Harbor, and out to Zuanich Point. A beautiful run with breathtaking views of the Bay as well as Bellingham and Fairhaven, you can also take the new path east of Bellwether that goes out towards the new waterfront development.
- The Chuckanuts offer some of Belligham’s best trail running just ten minutes south of downtown. The Chuckanuts are the PNW mini version of Big Sur and the only place where the Cascade mountain range meets the sea. There are many miles of terrain on dozens of trails to connect up and create your run with so make sure to grab a map before you head out. A great place to start is at Larrabee State Park and run up 1,000 feet to and around Fragrance Lake or take in views of beautiful Chuckanut Bay or continue up the road to the Ridge Trail and enjoy views of Mt. Baker.
- Stimpson Reserve: If you are looking for a calmer (but equally ferny) rainforested trail, head to Stimpson Reserve along Lake Louise Rd between Bellingham and Sudden Valley with 4 beautiful hilly miles with a couple of loop options.
- Mt. Baker Terrain: If you really want to climb high, take a short drive east along SR542 to try any one of the incredible hikes in the Mt. Baker Wilderness. Climb up almost 4,000 feet from the valley to the top of knife-edged Church Mountain or run along a ridge trail with amazing views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan and the rest of the area’s peaks almost the entire run. For those looking for a longer alpine experience, try out the 34 mile Copper Ridge loop in the North Cascades National Park. Run up the Chiliwack Valley with some of the biggest old-growth in the Cascades and then run up to beautiful alpine lakes many miles above tree line.
Trails in Town:
- Chuckanuts – www.gbrc.net/pdfs/chuckanuts_trails.pdf
- City of Bellingham Trail Guide -www.bellingham.org/download/Bellingham-Trail-Guide.pdf
- Galbraith – www.galbraithmountainmap.com/
- Whatcom County Parks & Trails – www.co.whatcom.wa.us/1913/Parks-Trails
Trail Running Clubs/Events:
Ready to come out & play?
Check out basecampbellingham.org for a one-stop shop of running, biking, paddling, snowsports and multisport events, gear, guides and clubs.
Aspire organizes single and multi-day running adventures in wilderness terrain. We provide logistical and emergency support paired with delicious meals for a unique and memorable backcountry running experience. Destinations include: The North Cascades, Mt, Rainier National Park, Yosemite National Park, and more.
The Salish to Salish 10K is a fundraising event suited for a fun Saturday activity and this race will be chip timed! Salish is a point to point, starting at Barkley Village, ending at Squalicum Boathouse. Participants get a free swag Bag, medal, Tech T-shirt and a full breakfast after the race! Early Bird pricing $20 until September 28th. Help raise money & awareness for Skookum Kids!
Ski to Sea is the original multisport relay race, from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. Organize your team of 8 racers and join us on Memorial Day weekend! Teammates and spectators await finishing racers in Bellingham’s scenic Marine Park and can experience the Historic Fairhaven Festival, the all-day street party just up the hill.
Often called “the most beautiful marathon in the Pacific Northwest,” the Bellingham Bay Marathon offers scenic courses with views of Bellingham Bay, San Juan Islands, and North Cascade mountains. Choose from our Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, or Marathon Relay.