South Bay Trail: Busy, beautiful

South Bay Trail/Taylor Dock and Boardwalk

This waterfront trail is so spectacular that it’s often packed with walkers. Runners and cyclists are welcome too — provided they don’t mind the crowds. The route takes you along and over Bellingham Bay, for a gorgeous look at the waterfront and Boulevard Park. There’s access to three small beaches. This corridor also is a recreational and non-motorized link between Fairhaven and the Interurban trail to the south and downtown Bellingham and the Whatcom Creek trail to the north.

Difficulty: Easy. Can be negotiated by wheelchair.

Elevation gain: Minimal

Round trip: About 4 miles

Hiking time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Users: Walkers and bicyclists

Best time: Year-round

Family friendly: Yes. The route is wide, easy to follow and marked along the way with interpretive signs that explain the city’s history, and fishing and lumber heritage. But it does go over railroad crossings so keep a close eye on children.

Amenities: Restrooms at the top of Taylor Dock. Restrooms at Boulevard Park are closed for the season. Picnic tables and a children’s playground at the park.

Map: Bellingham Trail Guide. Find it online by going to www.cob.org/services, then clicking on “Trails” under the “Recreation” heading. Then scroll down to “South Bay & Boulevard.” Find printed versions at the Bellingham Parks Department office at 3424 Meridian St. (Cornwall Park).

Getting there: Start at the south end of Railroad Avenue. Cross Maple Street to a path that goes to Laurel Street and then over a trestle bridge. After crossing Wharf Street, the trail leaves the road, progressing south. To the left you pass two stairways with routes to the Boulevard, South Hill and Western Washington University. At a railroad crossing, the trail moves into Boulevard Park. From there, it crosses one wooden boardwalk and then moves on to Taylor Dock and the Boardwalk, which goes over the railroad tracks to 10th Street. From there, you can take a trail south to Fairhaven.

Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash on South Bay Trail as well as on the path that’s closest to the parking lot at Boulevard Park and then to the wooden trestle bridge that heads south. They are not allowed on the part of the route that runs along Bellingham Bay or on any of the grassy areas in the park itself.