Whatcom Magazine

Bellingham trails offer views of fall colors

Bellingham’s Memorial Park offers a conveniently close place to stroll for autumn colors.
Bellingham’s Memorial Park offers a conveniently close place to stroll for autumn colors. The Bellingham Herald

You don’t have to go far afield to enjoy fall colors in Whatcom County.

Simply head out to the Interurban Trail in Bellingham. Just don’t expect the widespread, brilliant colors of the East Coast. What you’ll find instead are bright hues in spots or, more widely, a sedate palette that’s still worth getting out and about to admire.

Other places to see fall leaves in Bellingham include Memorial Park at King and East Maryland streets, Bayview Cemetery off of Woburn Street, and Marine Park off the west end of Harris Avenue.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind this year as you venture out for autumn foliage:

▪ Crews working to take a section of Padden Creek out of a tunnel have set up in the parking lot for the Interurban Trail Rotary Trailhead, off Old Fairhaven Parkway near 20th Street. The parking lot will be closed during the project, which is expected to be completed in October.

▪ Autumn officially begins Sept. 23, but what you see this season could be affected by the dry conditions and hot weather we’ve been having. Lack of rain and moisture because of the snowpack drought could cause leaves to drop before their colors have changed.

Interurban Trail

Round-trip: 13.2 miles.

Getting there: The main trailhead for the route, which connects the Fairhaven district with Larrabee State Park via a former electric rail line, is at 10th Street and Donovan Avenue for access from the north. Access from the south is at Larrabee State Park.

Rewards: Yellow fall leaves crunch pleasingly under your feet or bicycle wheels on parts of the trail, which is easygoing except for a steep part through Arroyo Park. You’ll go through mostly wooded areas and be treated to views of Bellingham and Chuckanut bays, as well as of the San Juan Islands.

You should know: Dogs are allowed, but should be kept on a leash.

Map: Go to cob.org and type “Interurban Trail” into the search window.

Vehicle parking permit: No permit is required from 10th and Donovan. A Discover Pass is required for Larrabee State Park; $11.50 for a day pass (with fees) and $35 for an annual pass (with fees).

Information: Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department at 360-778-7000.

Kie Relyea is a reporter for The Bellingham Herald.