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Want a new hike? Try this one near Bellingham with wide-open lake and mountain views

The end of the Chanterelle Trail at Lake Whatcom Park offers beautiful wide-open views of Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain.
The end of the Chanterelle Trail at Lake Whatcom Park offers beautiful wide-open views of Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

If you haven't gone yet, the promise of sun starting on Sunday could be the perfect time to hit the newish Chanterelle Trail at Lake Whatcom Park.

If you go, you'll be exploring the first trail built for new Whatcom County parkland on both sides of Lake Whatcom that was created by the transfer of 8,844 acres of forest land around Lake Whatcom from the state to Whatcom County in 2014.

The trail will be part of an extensive network that will total some 98 miles, according to a recreational trail plan for Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve and Lake Whatcom Park.

The Chanterelle Trail was built last summer and opened to the public Sept. 30.

This summer, another five miles of trails will be built in the new parkland.

Map Chanterelle.jpg

Why you'll like it: The trail isn't far from Bellingham, and its location will be familiar to those who have gone there to relish the pretty waterfall and shoreline views of the Hertz Trail, which runs along Lake Whatcom.

The Chanterelle Trail will take you above the lake — on a long and steady climb up Stewart Mountain that will require some sweat equity, but it will be worth it.

You'll be rewarded with an outing through lush woods that will open to an overlook with stunning views of Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain.

Difficulty: Moderate, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. The single-track trail has a natural surface with a little bit of gravel.

Round trip: 4.8 miles.

Users: Hikers and bicyclists. Hikers can go up and down the trail. Bicyclists can ride up, but must return to the trailhead via the Wickersham Truck Road until a trail is built for the ride down.

You should know: Parking is free. There's a restroom in the main parking lot.

Getting there: Follow North Shore Drive around the north end of Lake Whatcom past Agate Bay and across the bridge at Smith Creek. The route will turn into Northshore Road. Turn left (if coming from Bellingham) at the Lake Whatcom Park sign. Follow the road and then park at the well-marked trailhead at the end of the road in the main parking area.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea
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