If you live in Ferndale and want to go somewhere on your bike, your choices are pretty limited. You can ride the roads, that in my opinion are some of the most dangerous in the county, you could throw your bike on your car and drive it somewhere else, or you can go adventurous and ride the only trail, that I am aware of, that goes to/from Ferndale. Beginning along this trail, you can ride the 15 miles to Whatcom Falls along a route that maximizes trails and minimizes busy roadways.
This ride begins at Hovander and travels south along the Nooksack. I parked at the Fragrance Garden, just because that’s where i felt like parking. This route follows the river to Marietta along the same trail as my Nooksack Loop Trail/Mixed Loop and from there ventures to Little Squalicum Park, Cornwall Park, Memorial Park in Sunnyland, and then on to Whatcom Falls Park and/or Bloedel Donovan. This route, described to me by a friend, aims to keep as much to trails and parks as possible, while avoiding the worst of the traffic Bellingham and Ferndale have to offer. Here are the legs in bullet form:
- Hovander to Marietta along the river
- Marietta to Little Squalicum Park along Marine Drive
- Little Squalicum Park to Cornwall along the Bay to Baker Trail and Squalicum Blvd.
- Cornwall Park to Cornwall Rose Garden Park by riding through Cornwall Park
- Cornwall Rose Garden Park to Memorial Park riding on East Illinois Street – this section of street is designated as a bike riding thoroughfare and is lightly trafficked by cars.
- Memorial Park to Whatcom Falls – follow from south end of park across I-5. Keep on trail through Barkley, across Alabama and onto Whatcom Falls
I rode this last Saturday, the first sunny day in weeks, and it was lots of fun and not too crowded. Though fun, this route is not without complications. Here is a quick list
- The river trail can be flooded and/or deteriorated from flooding.
- Marine Drive has a very narrow no shoulder section with a bridge, albeit pretty short.
- Navigating through Cornwall park is confusing, or I have no sense of direction.
- Crossing James Street on East Illinois is a bit much with all the traffic and in Bellingham drivers can be so courteous that they are dangerous, or they can just flat out ignore you. Either way, just be extra careful here. I try to be and I am still alive so far.
- The trail crosses numerous streets between I-5 and Whatcom Falls and you will need to be cautious because traffic doesn’t always stop.
The good thing about this route is that you can get from here to there while avoiding a lot of dangerous traffic, simple as that.