Stimpson Family Nature Reserve near Sudden Valley is a great place to explore during the winter when you’re in the mood to hike or run through a lush, old-growth forest at lower elevations.
Why you’ll like it: About four miles of trail are spread between two loops that go past a beaver pond, Geneva Pond, Chuckanut sandstone ridges interspersed with boggy gullies, and a magnificent forest with Western hemlock, Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, and Douglas firs more than 400 years old.
It’s a gorgeous slice of nature in a peaceful setting that will keep you coming back year-round. Although hilly in spots, it’s an outing the entire family can enjoy, and the first 525 feet of the trail is accessible by wheelchair.
Best of all: It’s not heavily visited, so you can enjoy solitude without having to travel far, and Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department installed a bathroom last summer.
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You should know: Because it’s a reserve, no bicycles, pets or horses are allowed.
Getting there: Follow Lakeway Drive east to Cable Street. Pass the fire station on the right after about three miles, and then a blinking yellow light hanging over the road. Turn right onto Austin Street, which becomes Lake Louise Road. Continue for 1.6 miles to the boulder-lined gravel parking lot on the left.
From Sudden Valley, follow Lake Louise Road for about a mile beyond Sudden Valley Gate 13.