Whatcom Magazine

Whatcom Outings: Boardwalk trail in Ferndale offers views of stunning Mount Baker, wetland

Tennant Lake Marsh Boardwalk rewards walkers with beautiful views of Mount Baker and an up-close look at a spectacular wetland. It’s a perfect place for quiet contemplation, in-between the rush of visitors on sunny days.

Difficulty: Easy. Trail is level and wheelchair-accessible.

Round trip: 1.4-mile loop.

Why you’ll like it: The trail starts at a 50-foot-tall viewing tower near the Fragrance Garden. The tower provides stunning views of Mount Baker looming over shallow-yet-scenic Tennant Lake. The trail takes you through swamps and marshes, where you’ll see cattails, willows and pond lilies. Scrutinize trees and you’ll see teeth marks left by beavers. Look, too, for frogs, and for great blue herons with their awkward grace.

Newly renovated, the boardwalk has a wetlands-viewing area wide enough to accommodate people in wheelchairs, or parents with kids in strollers.

Other attractions: Take a moment to experience the Fragrance Garden, in raised beds next to Tennant Lake Interpretive Center. The garden is designed for people who are blind or visually impaired, so visitors are encouraged to touch and smell the many offerings, such as gold creeping thyme, wooly yarrow, and curry plants.

Also, take the trail to Hovander Homestead Park to visit the majestic red barn, antique implements and farmyard animals, or tour the historic Hovander House from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park also has a farm-theme playground.

You should know: The boardwalk trail is closed during waterfowl hunting season from early October through January. There are restrooms on the interpretive center side and the Hovander Park side.

Getting there: Take I-5 north from Bellingham to exit 262 (Main Street/City Center). Turn right and stay on Main Street until Hovander Road, then turn left. Proceed to Nielsen Avenue, turn right, then follow the road to where it empties into the parking lot for the Interpretive Center.

Learn more: Go to whatcomcounty.us and search for “Hovander Homestead Park.”