If you’re searching for beautiful forested trails to hike, but don’t feel like straying too far from Bellingham, head over to Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve! Located just outside of town, this trail system is Sudden Valley’s best kept secret. After recently moving to the area with my family, I have spent a lot of time exploring the region and discovering new trails.
The trailhead is located on Lake Louise Road and offers a decent sized parking lot, along with restrooms to visit before heading out on your adventure. Since Lookout Mountain is part of Whatcom County Parks and Recreation instead of Washington State Parks, you don’t need a Discover Pass! The trails are available to use by hikers and bikers alike, plus your furry dog friends can come along if they are on a leash. The best part about this area is that it’s available to use year-round!
So far, my favorite way to spend time here is hiking while wearing our toddler on my back in the baby carrier. We both get to enjoy the magnificent views of Douglas Firs, Big Leaf Maple, and Alder trees, in addition to several creeks and two waterfalls. The Lower Loop Trail is an easy, relatively flat 1 mile loop that starts at the trailhead and later connects to the Waterfall Loop and Lookout Loop. It is gentle enough that our daughter is able to take me on a toddler-lead hike, stopping to touch the moss growing on trees or to stomp in mud puddles after the rain. If we decide to take the Waterfall Loop, she rides on my back again for a fairly steep ¼ mile to view the majestic waterfall on the right side of the trail.
The Lookout Loop is moderate enough that I’ve only taken it by myself. It makes for an awesomely difficult trail run if you are looking to gain some quick elevation. The trail is about 3.6 miles that are mainly single track trails, and about halfway through the loop is a spur trail that steeply takes you up to catch beautiful views of Lake Whatcom.
If you are looking to do a day hike that promises views from the summit, take the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve service road that meanders 8 miles up to the top, giving you a 16 mile roundtrip quest. I haven’t yet accomplished this myself, but my goal is to make it to the top this summer along with our little tot!
Read more about Emily’s adventures on her blog: http://pnwmotherrunner.blogspot.com