Outdoors

Teddy Bear Cove: Short and steep hike to pair of beaches

On a sunny day, this is a popular destination for people looking for a vigorous stroll that takes them through woods to seashore. The cove also was once popular with nude sunbathers, which is why you’ll see a sign reminding people to keep their clothes on.

Elevation gain: 680 feet

Round trip: Up to 2.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy to strenuous

Users: Pedestrians

Best time to hike: Year-round

Highlights: This hike is short and steep but worth the effort. Walk through Western red cedars, madronas and Douglas firs while listening for the squeaky call of hairy woodpeckers, or the rapid-fire of their pecking. From the cove — which is actually two coves, the north and the south — look over the water to lovely views of Clark’s Point, Lummi and Cypress islands as well as the Olympic Mountains.Admire the honeycomb formations in the Chuckanut sandstone found in the north cove, which also is home to the remains of a 1920s brick factory. The south cove boasts a white-sand beach made up of crushed clam shells that were left by American Indians over hundreds of years.

Maps: USGS Bellingham South (7.5 Series) and Whatcom County Parks and Recreation

Getting there: From the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead — at the intersection of Chuckanut Drive and California Street — hike 0.3 miles up Hemlock Trail to the Interurban trail. Then head south for about ½-mile to where you have to cross Chuckanut Drive to the trail down to Teddy Bear Cove; it is a ½-mile to the beach. Going down is easy, coming back up is a grunt.

Sources: David Bean, local naturalist, and “Hiking Whatcom County,” by Ken Wilcox (Northwest Wild Books)

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