This route has been an enigma for me in the same way that Canyon Lake had been an enigma for me until I actually rode to Canyon Lake for myself. My wife and I have walked in and around all the roads near BP out on Pt. Whitehorn, yet not actually traversed the whole area. I thought it would be a nice pleasant alternative to riding Kickerville between Mtn. View and Birch Bay Lynden Rd.
Spoiler….it was in all respects a nice pleasant alternative to riding Kickerville.
Before actually riding the whole thing, I wasn’t really sure which abandon roads were closed closed, and which were just gated for cars, while remaining open for walkers and bicycle riders. The signage on the gate at the intersection of Point Whitehorn Road & Grandview Road makes it pretty clear that it is okay to walk and bike beyond the gate, however other gates on Jackson, Aldergrove, Gulf and Lonseth are not so clear about whether or not regular peoples can just hop the gate and be on their merry way. I still don’t know the official answer, but the roads were well patrolled by refinery security, and I didn’t get thrown in jail, so I think the route I describe here must be A-okay for cycling.
I parked at the Birch Bay Waterslides then rode down the hill towards Birch Bay, turning left onto Birch Bay Drive, then riding around the bay and through the state park. From Birch Bay State Park I rode up the hill on Pt. Whitehorn Road crossing Grandview and coming upon the first gate. This gate signage on Grandview spells out that it is ok with BP to walk and bike on their private property during daytime hours.
I rode the abandon road south, then made the obvius turn east onto Aldergrove rather than continuing straight off the cliff. At Jackson road, I turned south just to see what the abandon section of Lonseth looked like as it hit Jackson; it looked like I’d get arrested hopping the chain links fences and active pipelines blocking Lonseth so I just road back to Aldergrove and continued east.
If security was planning on stopping me at all, I figured it’d happen on this abandoned and gated section of Aldergrove, because it runs right behind and very close to the refinery. Rest assured that Security was there and they definitely knew I was there, but they didn’t stop me so I am guessing that is was all good. The road in this section was also in the shade, so it was very green and very slippery.
I continued to ride east on this mossy green section of Aldergrove before turning south on Gulf Road and then going through the final gate as I hit Lonseth Rd. From there it as an easy coast down Gulf Road to Boulder Beach. Though there were no more gates here on this public section of road, the road was in fact still closed due to some roadway damage from our recent bout of high winds. BTW, as you can see in the pictures, Birch Bay drive was a little worse for wear after the same high winds but was still open enough to ride without issue.
From Boulder Beach I turned around and rode the same path back to my car, minus the one exploratory detour down Jackson Rd to Lonseth. This is in fact an out and back ride rather than a loop, but it felt more like a loop, I think because there is so much to see on this route and everything looked different going the opposite way.
So, mission accomplished. I now know how to traverse this area on some of the quietest (aka. Abandoned) roads in Whatcom County.
Out and back ride from Birch Bay Waterslides parking lot to Boulder Beach at the end of Gulf Road. This route is more for recreational/hybrid type bikes rather than road bikes as it makes use of some abandon/closed roads around the refineries.