Bellingham tour: Galbraith, Padden, Chuckanut, and Blanchard

A friend from Tucson was in Bellingham this weekend, and I hadn’t been there in a while: 2 good reasons to revisit the trails there. It began with a morning ride through Lake Padden and then onto Galbraith. The trail gnomes have been busy at Galbraith the last year, so that I was able to enjoy the almost complete linkage of single track up to the top and down again. It was early enough that I had the place to myself, though by 11 am, a few were heading up the dirt roads on their big rigs, and I even met 3 young kids pushing their big bikes up some single track as I came down on my hardtail. Makes me smile. I, too, was young once and had the best full-suspension bike that was sold back in the early 90’s.

I am beginning the get the lay of the trails at Galbraith; I feel that I appreciate the randomness a bit more – it lets you choose your own adventure: including a little 10 mile loop. It was very foggy, probably 60F, and without anyone else there, riding the twisty trails felt a bit like meditation.

Finally headed back via the switchbacks at Padden and met up for the loop with Scott. We crossed the Ski2Sea mountain bike course a couple times where lots of volunteers were already waiting more than 2 hours in advance of the racers at all the intersections. Fancy. We rode up the techy, rooty Hemlock, then over to Raptor viewpoint, and down to Lost Lake. Along the trail, we met a family out with a wagon – they own a parcel near Raptor viewpoint right in the middle of the state park and were determined to lug everything they needed for an overnighter along the brand new trail on their wagon. Interesting.

Over at Blanchard, we rode out to the viewpoint and were able to see a little ways.

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Riding up and over Blanchard, we met a guy with his 3 goats training for the summer hiking season in the Cascades. I had met him last year, so it was fun to see him again. He was just the friendliest guy and so were his goats, which were basically big pets to him. We rode up some steep and sweet single track, followed by a helping of British Army trail descent.

Back to Chuckanut, it was getting a little late, so we short-cut my extra-big loop and headed up to the clearcut viewpoint near South Lost Lake trail. Still not much of a view with all the clouds, but Pudget Sound was glistening pretty in the early evening sun. Lastly, we rode along Chuckanut ridge were there are a couple places that I am not able ride. However, Scott didn’t even notice that there was something difficult here ..

We finished the day with the techy Salal and Hemlock trails and the got some pizza at Fat Pie pizzeria. Excellent outing.
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7 Responses to Bellingham tour: Galbraith, Padden, Chuckanut, and Blanchard

  1. That was a big surprise when I saw you and Scott in that picture!

    I guess he and Eszter are getting ready to ride east and maybe take in the Trans Canada and Kettle Crest.


  2. cirrusdesign says:

    Excellent site thanks for all the informative posts especially the mapping. Funny we missed each other I was riding in the blanchard area too on Sunday…I live just below galbraith…thanks for the inspiration and excellent beta…let me know next time youa re in teh area if you want a riding partner. I’m training for a cross nevada mountain bike ride this fall…


  3. 2wheeltrails says:

    Looks like you’ve had a good exploratory outing. I’ve been looking at that area, too bad that it’s only abandoned logging roads.

  4. cirrusdesign says:

    Yea, I was hoping it would fill in the middle of a 3 day ride i was trying to put together from Galbraith over the saddle between baker and park butte via the middle fork of the nooksack and ridley creek down to Baker lake and back to bellingham via the cascade trail. Been interested lately in rides that originate at home. The ridley creek section goes through a few miles of wilderness, not sure how to manage that…it would be good to not have to disassemble the rig for 4 miles. Do you have any experience with bikes and wilderness?

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