Alex Bacon/The AS Review
When the sun comes out, Bellinghamsters head out to parks across the city. With more than 30 parks to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to go, especially if you have a particular activity planned. Whether you want to play frisbee, sunbathe or mountain bike, the AS Review’s guide to the best parks has got you covered.
Boulevard Park, located in Fairhaven, is the most popular park in Bellingham, said Robin Eldore, an office assistant in the Bellingham Parks and Recreation administration office.
Fairhaven Park is great for people interested in playing Frisbee, Frisbee golf or ultimate Frisbee, Katy Howell, the AS Outdoor Center’s marketing coordinator, said. There are many wide expanses of grass, perfect for the long distance Frisbee thrower.
Cornwall Park, off of Meridian Street, is also good for Frisbee golf because there is a Frisbee golf course, said Kara Furhmeister, assistant coordinator of the Outdoor Center’s equipment and bike shop.
People interested in soccer, kickball and similar activities should check out Franklin Park, Howell said. Franklin Park, located in the York neighborhood, was recently renovated and has a large green field, playground and skate park. Franklin is also a good park for picnics, Howell said.
Hiking fans in the area have many parks to choose from. Howell suggested Arroyo Park, located off Old Samish Highway. Arroyo Park is made up of a series of trails that go up into the Chuckanuts, Howell said.
The North Lake Whatcom Trail, which runs parallel to Lake Whatcom, is three miles long and great for an afternoon hike, Furhmeister said. The trail also offers places to swim, complete with rope swings. There’s a waterfall along the trail that people can hike to the top of, but Furhmeister cautioned that ambulances are regularly called to the area because people try to climb up the falls fall.
According to Eldore, swimming is not officially condoned at any of the parks because there are no lifeguards.
There are also hiking trails in Larrabee State Park, which is off of Chuckanut Drive. Larrabee has fields, trails and a pebble beach. There are geologic interest points, as well as the opportunity to see sealife such as crabs or starfish.
Mountain bikers also have a few options. Galbraith Park, past Lake Padden, is very popular with mountain bikers, Furhmeister said. There are amazing views of Mount Baker and the San Juan Islands, she said. Furhmeister suggested bringing a map because it is easy to get lost on the trails.
Whatcom Falls and Lake Padden have trails to hike or bike, but Howell said her favorite trail to bike is the Interurban Trail, which runs through town out to Larrabee State Park. She said it’s an easy half hour bike ride and after reaching Larrabee, she parks her bike and goes climbing between Larrabee and Clayton Beach.
One park that many people overlook is Zuanich Park, which is near the marina and is good for kite flying because it’s so windy, Howell said.
For those who don’t mind a bit of a drive, Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale is good for hiking, Furhmeister said. But it’s not only for hikers. Hovander Park has a boardwalk into a swamp, a vegetable garden and a scent garden, which is designed to be fragrant for the visually impaired. Furhmeister said there are also many animals in the area that people can feed, such as bunnies, goats and peacocks.
Animal lovers should check out Cornwall Park because of the off-leash area. All Bellingham parks have leash and waste laws. Eldore emphasized the importance of following these policies, particularly for pets.