Stewart Mountain is east of Bellingham between Lake Whatcom and the South Fork Nooksack River valley. “It has a lot of trail options, including a loop starting from Y Road or from the Hertz Trailhead (which is back open after a nearby fire this past summer),” declares Bellingham resident Gretchen Walla, director of Walla Trails. “The summit of Stewart Mountain has some great views, and there’s a new trail off the Chanterelle Trail that will give you a good sweat!”
The CalTopo map shows two routes. One is from the Y Road Trailhead, expanding to 17 miles of multi-use trails. The other is from Lake Whatcom Park using the Hertz trail and the new Chantelle Trail Connector.
Y Road trails to Stewart Mountain occur in the Olsen Creek Washington Department of Natural Resources. As a working forest, the trails are continuously added and changed to connect forest roads while trees are harvested for the timber industry. The route on CalTopo is nine miles with 2550 of elevation gain.
Runners can also follow the Wickersham Truck Trail to the summit of Stewart Mountain for sights of Mount Baker, the Twin Sisters, Lake Whatcom, and the San Juan Islands.
The Hertz Trail mildly strolls along the shore of Lake Whatcom on what used to be the Bellingham & Eastern Railway for 2.9 miles. Besides Lake Whatcom, enjoy panoramas of old-growth forest trees, waterfalls, and Lookout Mountain.
The Chanterelle Trail is the challenging counterpart of the Hertz Trail, with 2.4 miles and 1000 feet of climbing around switchbacks through the extended forest. On the way to the summit are views of Bellingham Bay to the west and the Cascades to the east. Use the new connector trail to make an eight-mile loop with a hefty 2400′ climb, most of it between miles 2 and 3.5.