Trail Signs in the Chuckanut Trail System

 

Because of the easy access from Bellingham, the Chuckanut Mountains are a popular destination for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and trail running. The trails offer stunning views of the San Juan Islands, Bellingham Bay, and Mount Baker. Larrabee State Park, the first state park designated in Washington, is located within the Chuckanut Mountains and can be reached from Bellingham via the Interurban Trail.

Hemlock Trail

 

The Chuckanut Trails offer an unlimited number of routes, distances, and technicalities that make it a favorite for trail runners, as evidenced by the number of trail races in the area, including the Chuckanut 50k, one of the oldest and largest trail races in the Pacific Northwest.

 

View southeast from Raptor Ridge.

 

If you asked 50 Bellingham trail runners what their favorite route in the Chuckanuts is, you’d get 50 different answers. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll offer a loop using the Hemlock, Lost Lake Trail, Ridge Trail, and Raptor Ridge as connectors.

Most runners start from the Interurban Trail from Bellingham. There are also several parking spots on Old Samish Road and WA-11. From the Interurban Trail, head toward the Hemlock Trail. Follow the Hemlock Trail and stay left at the intersection toward Chuckanut Falls. There will be an out-and-back trail to the falls on the left. Add .6 miles here if you want to see the falls. Otherwise, continue to the Hemlock Trail intersection. Continue the climb up Hemlock Trail past Huckleberry Trail for three miles until you reach Raptor Ridge. The Hemlock Trail continues to the Pine Lake Wildlife Area, but the loop will turn right on Raptor Ridge.

 

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With expansive views, 0ld growth trees, harrowing cliffs, and challenging crags, Raptor Ridge is a favorite section of the Chuckanuts for a formidable experience. Take a minute at the viewpoints of Bellingham Bay and  Oyster Creek.

Raptor Ridge connects to Lost Lake Trail. Turn right on Lost Lake for a shorter loop to head back to the start. Otherwise, turn left to reach Lost Lake.

 

Puget Sound from Chuckanut Mountain Middle Peak.

 

After Lost Lake is the intersection of Rock Trail. For a longer loop, go straight for Fragrance Lake. Our loop will take a right on Rock Trail. Climb the stairs on Double Black Diamond Trail to the top of Chuckanut Mountain Middle Peak for views of the San Juan Islands. If needed, there will be an intersection to a parking lot and a bathroom. Otherwise, continue to Ridge Trail for a 3-mile to Lost Lake Trail. Turn left on Lost Lake to the intersection from the beginning of the run. Turn left and head back to the start to complete the loop.

 

Fragrance Lake Trail

 

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