Oh the battle of trying to figure out if a place is stroller friendly before you load up the kid and drive all the way out and then hope that the trail is stroller-able for more than 500 feet. Bellingham has got some great stroller trails, probably the most of anywhere in Western Washington. So let me give you a few of my favorites that I have rolled my big wheeling stroller down.
Hertz Trail How Busy on a Nice Day? Moderately Busy Straight trail, no loop, ~2 miles Lots of dogs, usually off leash No Playground
I love the Hertz trail in Lake Whatcom Park, it is one of my favorites year round because it gets nice sun on those cold winter afternoons and still has shade in the summer. Mainly, I love walking along the water. This is one of the most peaceful trails, the perfect spot for a break from the sounds of the city as you won’t even hear a car. In spring and summer it is filled with little Pine White butterflies and little lavender butterflies that no one has been able to identify for me. This is also one of the few spots in Bellingham that has Madrona trees, which are my absolute favorite.
One mile in you come to a huge waterfall that flows under a great covered bridge. Nearby is a bench where the creek flows into the lake. This is The Spot for many people on this trail and we always stop for a snack on the bench. When it’s hot out, we wade a bit in the river. The trail is totally stroller-able and flat, after the first 1.5 miles or so it does get more and more narrow and a bit bumpier. In the future the trail may continue and connect to the south Lake Whatcom area (known as Blue Canyon).
Whatcom Falls Park How Busy on a Nice Day? Busy A lot of loop options. A lot of dogs, usually on leash Not all trails are passable with a stroller
Whatcom Falls has some of the most appealing landscapes that are a departure from the sea and mountain views of other parks in the area. At the start of the main trail you can hear the falls, which only increase in volume as you approach. You round a corner and see the World War II era bridge built by the Works Progress Administration. To the right are the falls. Impressive, even when the water volume is low, these falls are breathtaking during high volume times. The surrounding forest is a mossy emerald paradise encircling a stone grotto. The bottom of the falls is accessible via trails just past the bridge and I’ve seen people at the top but I’m not going anywhere near there with my little one!The trail splits three ways after the bridge. Take your pick as they all have a way to loop back at some point.
The middle trail is mostly straight, mostly level, gravel and has the most open feel. It exits the park at Iowa St. The left takes you through more turns, ups and downs, and follows the river. It dips down to river level so you can dip in too if you feel like it. This way has other branches that lead through the trees, along the river, and St. Clair Park! If you follow the main trail you will come to a deep grotto into which the river flows. No way can a stroller get to the bottom, but the view is still great! This portion of the trail ends in a set of stairs that lead to the end of the middle trail. We usually turn around at the stairs, they’re a bit much to lug a stroller up.
The trail to the right leads past the waterfall and takes you to the upper area of the park. This goes near the fish hatchery, which you can see from the parking lot. It loops around Derby Pond and has a derelict railroad bridge over the creek, complete with tracks still attached! The trail goes two ways: crossing the bridge over the pond spillway leads to more interesting trails, but the start has some areas that will be rocky even if you have a large-wheeled stroller. The trail to the right is flat and gravelled. A good turn-around point for a short hike is the railroad bridge, beyond that is a modern bridge that completes the loop around the pond. Going straight past this bridge takes you all the way to Whatcom Lagoon and Bloedel Donovan Park! That’s right, three parks in one! It’s a bit over a half-mile from the fish hatchery to Bloedel Donovan Park.
There is a map detailing the two playgrounds, fish, hatchery, ponds, bridges and stairs in the park. It also shows surrounding streets and trail entrances if you are within walking distance! In all, Whatcom Falls is one of the busier parks, but there is a reason!
Lookout Mountain Reserve How Busy on a Nice Day? Busy A lot of straight trail options and a few loops as well. A lot of dogs, about 50/50 for leashing
Lookout Mountain is a great escape hike, there are a few waterfalls even! It starts with a large but gradual uphill, so if you have little ones who want to hike on their own, they’ll need some endurance to get up that first hill. There are some real hiking style trails here that would not accept a stroller and lots of strollerable main trails as well. You will see a fair amount of cyclists as well. It has a small trail head parking lot with a bathroom, if the parking lot is full there isn’t really a safe spot to park on the street.
Stimson Reserve How Busy on a Nice Day? Moderately Several loop options. NO dogs allowed. No Playground
Stimson is a favorite for trail runners, because it’s one of the few trails in Whatcom that aren’t composed of the gravel filled pavement. It is strollerable easily for the first .50 miles, to the little bridge over the seasonal creek, after that it starts to climb gradually up through the trees and has some roots and larger rocks to contend with on the trail. You can wind your way north up around Geneva pond or south continuing the forest.
We love the fallen trees, nursery trees and tree formations throughout Stimson. There are always a few ducks on the big bog at the beginning and a pair on the pond. We hear a lot of frogs here too, which makes sense because the mosquitoes are rampant and voracious, to the point that when summer really kicks into gear we stay away completely because no bug repellant is enough to keep them off of me.
Lake Padden How Busy on a Nice Day? Very Busy Main loop around the lake and southern straight trail option connecting to Galbraith A lot of dogs, usually on leash, there are off leash dog areas. Plaground
Lake Padden is a big favorite for everyone, which makes it a very busy place spring through fall. We like taking breaks on all the docks along the lake to watch the swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders cruising around the lake. There are a lot of ducks, Canadian geese and American Coots are common as well. Sadly for parent, the water fowl’s favorite area is right by the playground so there is usually a fair amount of droppings and children chasing the birds etc…. The playground is large, but doesn’t have any shade for those really hot days.
We love going up the east side or “back end” of the lake to enjoy more space from the road and listen to the Bald Eagles nesting in the trees. Lake Padden is popular with everyone, so expect a lot of cyclists, runners, people fishing and people just hanging out on the grass. The trail along the lake is flat and as it heads into the trees on the east side there are more hills, but still stroller friendly the whole way around.
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