Is it spring yet? With the exception of the morning ice, January 13th sure seemed like the first day of spring. As such, it seemed also like a nice chance to ride a long mixed loop that I’ve been thinking of trying out.
It also felt like a spring ride from how pooped I was near the end of the loop. It has been several months since I’ve ridden more than 10 or 15 miles at a time, let alone the 40 miles I did today. 40 was ambitious for me but it felt good to lay down a high mark on this first spring ride,
Maybe those places are iconic, for me, what made this ride stick in my mind is the way it alternates on and off road. Pavement, trail, gravel, trail, pavement, trail, gravel, pavement, path, gravel, pavement, trail, gravel, pavement that’s the door to door synopsis of my ride.
All that sunshine today worked well for what was a 4 hour ride through some pretty iconic Bellingham area places: Barkley Village, Whatcom Falls, Galbraith, Padden, Fairhaven, Boulevard Park, the Bellingham Waterfront, Nooksack River, and Hovander Park up in Ferndale.
One of the ride highlights was finding the “single track” along Hannegan as it winds up to become Woburn; not knowing that this track existed along the guardrail, I’ve always avoided this area as it seemed like a death wish to ride slowly up that blind corner with no bike lane nor shoulder.
Another highlight was riding the trails behind Padden that go from the south end Galbraith parking lot down to the lake itself; I found them especially fun on the rigid Kona Dew. Those big 700c wheels with the PDX tires I recently got, just rolled over all the blowdown, roots and rocks. It was just fun.
Next highlight for me was the whole ride along the waterfront on such a nice day. I can’t recall if I’ve ever ridden the ramp at Taylor Dock, nor even the boardwalk along Boulevard Park. As you can imagine, it was a slow ride politely poking my way through hundreds of Sunday walkers, joggers, bicyclers, unicyclers, stroller pushers, dogs and the numerous elderly couples enjoying each other’s company. Fun stuff.
Finished this ride up with a slow, because I was tired, ride up along the Nooksack River and through Hovander Park before heading home. I’ve also included a few turn by turn notes down below.
As always a loop can be jumped on at any point that suits you and my driveway can be fairly boring so it need not be included on your ride.
- Axton, Hannegan, Woburn, catch the Railway Trail from Woburn or at the connector that comes out sort of behind and to the left of Haggen
- Railway Trail to Whatcom Falls, turn left just after crossing Whatcom Creek then follow that path past the fish hatchery and onto Silver Beach Road.
- On Silver Beach Road, cross Lakeway onto Kenoyer, follow up thru neighborhood turning left on Alvarado and following Alvarado to the right where it ends at a gate which as you staring straight at an ominous powerline hill.
- Ride around the gate, cross a pipeline, a wooden plank bridge before taking a left on to Karma trail
- Ride Karma up about ¼ mile before keeping left at a Y and being dumped back out onto another pipeline
- Take this pipeline trail up and over a small ridge where the pipeline becomes a gravel road and flows down to Galbraith Lane – take any trails along the way that you like, Art’s trail, Rock & Roll, as well as others all flow the way you are going
- Hit the pavement on Galbraith Lane, cross Samish Way to the South Parking lot.
- Ride through the parking lot and up a trail to the left/south.
- Ride any trails you choose while making your way to the west end of the lake where Padden Creek exits
- Take the path along the creek that exits out to 36th St.
- Follow 36th, left on Connelly which becomes Old Fairhaven Parkway
- I kept on Old Fairhaven down to where I took a right on 10th, but the Interurban runs along here if you want more gravel path.
- Follow 10th past Fairhaven Village Green and catch the next path in front of Ovn Pizza and the Village Inn
- Follow path from Fairhaven towards Bellingham riding down Taylor Dock and onto the Boardwalk.
- The Boardwalk/S. Bay Trail will take you north thru Boulevard Park and on into Bellingham.
- Find your way to down to Cornwall Ave, W. Chestnut and onto Roeder Ave down by the Whatcom Creek waterway.
- Keep riding northwest on Roeder, do not take the obvious turn up Squalicum Way but rather, keep on Roeder all the way to Seaview and take that up to Eldridge Avenue.
- Ride north on Eldridge and keep on it as it becomes Marine Drive.
- After going over the railroad overpass Marine Drive drops down onto the Nooksack Delta, here I took a right on Bancroft which became Country Lane and then Marine Drive again just before crossing the Nooksack River.
- Right before the river take a right onto the Tenant Lake to Marine Drive Trail, the gravel path up to Hovander Park in Ferndale.
- From Hovander I recommend avoiding the dangers of the Ferndale roads by heading south on Hovander Rd which becomes Smith Road.
- Smith Road has nice wide shoulders and takes you all the way back to Hannegan.