Not a traditional hike, a winter visit to Tennant Lake Park offers a chance to walk local trails and take in the scenery. Great for a holiday outing for the entire family, the park has recreation opportunities for all ages and interests. Adjacent to Hovander Homestead Park, it offers visitors hundreds of acres of scenic opportunities. Visitors should plan to spend a full afternoon exploring both parks.
To begin your afternoon, stop into the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, where an on-site naturalist will lead children (and anyone else curious enough) through the environmental history of Tennant Lake. After you’re well-versed in the flora and fauna of the area, climb the stairs of the 50-foot viewing tour and take it all in. On a clear day, you’ll spot Mount Baker emerging from the North Cascades, watch a wide variety of birds enjoy the wetlands below you, and peek into history as you gaze over Hovander Homestead. When you’ve made your way back downstairs, take a minute to look, smell, and touch the 200 or so plants in the Fragrance Garden. These raised beds are like an outdoor classroom, with labels for each plant.
Your next step is up to you. The Tennant Lake parking lot has direct access to three different trails: there’s a boardwalk loop, the Hovander Homestead trail, and a river dike trail. The 1.4-mile boardwalk loop weaves through the wetlands surrounding Tennant Lake. Due to waterfowl hunting season, this trail is closed October through January, scheduled to reopen in February. (If you visit in early winter, both the river dike and Hovander Homestead trails connect to Hovander Homestead Park and more trails.) Should you make your way to the homestead, you’ll find the historic Hovander House and barn, farm animals, a picnic shelter and playground. May through October, barnyard animals like goats and chickens add to the authenticity of the grounds under the shadow of the 60-foot-tall barn, one of largest barns in Whatcom County.
To reach Tennant Lake Park, take exit 260 on I-5 for Slater Road toward Lummi Island. Follow signs for Pacific Highway, turn left on Smith Road, right on Hovander Road and follow signs to Hovander Homestead and Tennant Lake Parks.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Length: 624 Acres
Trail Surface: Varied
5299 Nielsen Rd., Ferndale
360.384.3444 | co.whatcom.wa.us
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