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North Chuckanut Mountain Trails – Mountain Biking – October 6, 2012

Saturday was a perfect, autumn day for mountain biking in the Chuckanut Mountains.  On a clear day like this, we were treated with unobstructed views of Mt Baker from the Cedar Lake viewpoint.  This trail system is located just south of the Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham, WA.  The Chuckanut mountains are tucked between Chuckanut Bay to the west, and I-5 to the east.  They reach a high point of about 1850 ft.

Our route: (~12 miles round trip, 4 1/2 hours)

  • NORTH CHUCKANUT TRAILHEAD to INTERURBAN TRAIL to LOWER SALAL TRAIL.  This section is fun, both up and down.  The path is mostly smooth gravel, smooth dirt, and a short section of doubletrack.
  • LOWER SALAL TRAIL and SALAL TRAIL to HEMLOCK TRAIL.  These trails vary from “rideable rooty/rocky” to highly technical, “get off your bike and push.”  NOT for beginners.  Be careful if descending this trail.  (We saved it for another time.)  I’m just imagining what all the roots would be like when wet…
  • HEMLOCK TRAIL to PINE LAKE.  A relentless climb, with some places where you lose and gain elevation.  Get your workout on!
  • PINE LAKE to CEDAR LAKE and the CEDAR LAKE VIEWPOINT.  We enjoyed watching the dragonflies buzzing over Cedar Lake.  Around the lake, you will be off your bike more than on.  The view of Mt Baker and the Sisters on a clear day is worth the climb to the viewpoint.  Be careful that you don’t fall off the ledge!
  • HEMLOCK TRAIL to RAPTOR RIDGE VIEWPOINT.  This section is way steep and rocky…Try to enjoy the push!  The rocky viewpoint is another no-fall zone.  There are no views of Mt Baker from here.  Not recommended for small children or clumsy/intoxicated adults!
  • RAPTOR RIDGE VIEWPOINT to a new, unmarked trail, down to NORTH LOST LAKE TRAIL.  The new, unmarked trail was definitely the highlight of the day 🙂 .  This was totally worth the effort to get there…a blast of a descent.  Will repeat!!
  • NORTH LOST LAKE TRAIL to INTERURBAN TRAIL and NORTH CHUCKANUT TRAILHEAD.  The North Lost Lake trail is a long, fast descent on a seemingly never-ending doubletrack.  The final section of singletrack (mentioned above) gets you back to the car with a smile on your face.

After the ride, we ate veggie fajitas/veggie burritos for dinner at Dos Padres, in Fairhaven.  That was the first restaurant we went out to eat together…21 years ago!  (We met each other at Western Washington University (WWU).)  The sunset in Bellingham was worth one last picture.

[Click on an image to enlarge and view in a photo gallery]

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