Dog-Friendly Hikes in Whatcom County
It is easy to become stuck in a routine especially during this last year as we've been dealing with COVID-19. Sticking close to home doesn’t have to mean walking the exact same path with your dog every day though. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful variety of both urban and forested trails to suit each person’s interests and abilities that are also dog-friendly in this county. Here are some of our favorites on-leash dog-friendly trails for walking and hiking in Whatcom County that are not always top of mind.
Hertz Trail is a 6.2 miles roundtrip trail along the northeastern part of Lake Whatcom. There is wonderful shade on this trail during a sunny day due to regular tree cover. It’s perfect on a warm summer day with views of activity on the lake most of the way. It can also be very quiet and peaceful early in the mornings or on overcast days. This is a wide level trail with some bridges for the first 2 miles suitable for strollers and some wheelchairs. It becomes narrower after 2 miles with small elevation changes. As it is a one way trail it’s easy to turn back the way you came when you and your dog are ready to go.
Our UKUSCAdoggie neighbor in Ferndale is Hovander Homestead Park one of the largest standalone parks in Whatcom County encompassing hundreds of acres, including over a mile of river frontage. This park is unique in that it has two designated off leash areas. One off-leash area is accessed from the south of the park by Slater Rd entrance and the other from the North of the park by Nooksack River boat launch area. Including the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center and Boardwalks, there are over 4 miles of trails along the river, near the lake and through the historic homestead farm.
With views to spare, the Semiahmoo Spit is a wonderful place to walk with your dog. There are gravel trails and beach options along the western side of the spit and paved wheelchair accessible paths along the eastern side. This is a great spot to go back to again and again while mixing it up with different directions and different times of day to take in all the beautiful views along the bay in one direction and Mt. Baker in the other. This is a popular spot so one nice clear weekend days, expect to pass a lot of other pedestrians and bikers.
Towards the South end of Whatcom County partially crossing the border into Skagit County, Squires Lake includes 2 miles of trails with up to 400 feet of elevation gain. Before packing up your dog in the car for this hike, it’s good to understand that 130 feet gain are in the very first 0.3 mile of trail bringing you to a junction toward the north end of the lake. Don’t be surprised when you get to the parking lot and spy the steep grade right out of the parking lot. Sticking to the 0.9 mile Squires Lake Loop Trail, taking the first left and following the loop trail, a hiker will encounter gradual elevation gains with lovely viewpoints of the lake and benches for taking breaks. Hikers who choose to add the South Ridge Trail to their hike with add a 200 feet of climbing along a ridge with a great viewpoint over the Friday Creek Valley.
A great hike in the Chuckanut Mountains for those looking for a bit of a challenge with their dog Pine and Cedar Lakes is 5.2 miles round trip trail with 1625 feet of elevation gain. Due to how steep this is, it is not suitable for young children. It is beloved by hikers, mountain bikers and runners alike for a challenging climb and even has some backcountry campsites. After conquering the initial elevation, hikers are treated to lovely views around the lakes. This trail is unique in a way that is not visible, because it is a unique patchwork of public lands from the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County parks, Washington State parks and Department of Fish and Wildlife lands. The agencies and agree to manage with area undeveloped for nonmotorized recreation and wildlife enhancement. Make sure to take along a Chuckanut Area or Whatcom County Parks map for this trail as it has junctions with other trails.
We hope you get a chance to get out and go out for a hike or walk with your dog on a new trail soon. There’s more than a couple dozen dog-friendly trails in Whatcom County, and this is just a small taste. Let us know if you end up trying one of these or others in the area. We love to hear where our customers frequent with their dogs. Make sure to stop by our store if you need any dog gear, and don’t let the rain stop you before you head out on your next dog-friendly hiking adventure here in Whatcom County! We’ve got all the right gear. Next: How to Cope with Losing a Pet