Spring hikes can sometimes mean giving up those spectacular views we are spoiled with in the Pacific Northwest. It can also mean rain, snow, and mud: not the most appealing conditions for a hike. Luckily, Whatcom County still has a variety of hikes that keep you out of the mud and allow outdoor people of all skill levels to enjoy our beautiful scenery year-round.
For an easy spring hike that doesn’t skip out of on those jaw-dropping Mount Baker views, spend the next sunny day exploring the Chuckanut Ridge Trail. The trail is perfect for spring conditions because of its high elevation, though hikers will gain little elevation during the hike itself because the trail is accessible from the Cleator Road overlook. The overlook will allow you to skip the incline and the mud. But be aware that the relatively level terrain makes the trail popular for mountain bikers as well. Avoid getting in anyone’s way by staying alert and stepping off the trail if necessary.
The trail meanders along a ridge line in the center of Larrabee State Park. To the west, you’ll get views of Bellingham Bay, glimpsed through the dense forest. But be sure to pay attention to small lookout points on the east side of the trail. This is where you’ll find views of snow-capped Mt. Baker. I recommend picking one of these little lookout spots for a trail snack before heading back.
To get there, take Highway 11 (Chuckanut Drive) and turn on Highline Drive.The road veers left to become Cleator Road. Follow the road to its end and park at the overlook. Backtrack about a tenth of a mile and you’ll see a fence marking the trail on the right.