Hiking · Local Adventures

Hovander Homestead and Tennant Lake

Many years ago, Kirk and I wandered around Hovander Homestead Park and Tennant Lake outside of Bellingham, Wa. Looking back, it was over 11 years ago! I had long wanted to take the boys there, so we took a mini vacation up North, and it was one of our stops. The park is owned by the county, in the town of Ferndale. It is free to use. It is a mix of open space. Trails along the Nooksack River, trails connecting areas, an old orchard, an experimental garden, the old homestead house and much more. It isn’t by any means wildernessy, but it is a great place for families to experience. The many animals raised there are a treat.

The last time we were here, it had been late spring, and clouded over. The weather was perfect, sunny and blue skies, and showcasing the amazing view of Mt. Baker the homestead had.

The park is in a lot better shape, with even more features a decade+ later. The outbuildings…with a great view of Mt. Baker…sigh!

Fat geese hanging out under an old apple tree.

The barn.

The water tower, which you can climb to the top. Walker wanted to do it, but this one did not get me excited. It was airless, dark and full of dust inside. Nope. Not happening.

The cool part about this park is the many areas for kids to play. It has a huge playground (on my last visit it had been a pig pen), with other areas sprinkled around.

The old homestead house.

One reason I wanted to visit was the Children’s Story Garden, built for little ones. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, and I love getting new ideas. It is run by Washington State University.

Making a fort with giant sunflowers.

After I wore them out with walking the homestead, we took off for the Tennant Lake area (also part of the park). You can walk a trail over to it, or drive around to meet up. The small house here hosts the Fragrance Garden, a garden designed for touching & for the visually impaired. It is mostly herbs, and is for the sense of smell.

The cool part is the 50 foot tower, which you can walk up to the top of. Unlike the water tower, this one isn’t dark and dusty inside…..and is modern built (they had to rebuild it). Ps: there is a geo cache around there. Alistaire found it.

Tennant Lake with Mt. Baker in the distance. The lake is mostly covered in plants.

A loop trail takes off below. No animals allowed, the trail wanders above and next to the lake on elevated boardwalk. In summer it is shaded over, with lots to see. Lots, and lots of frogs!


By the time we got to the end, it was pushing 6 pm, and onward we headed – the boys really enjoyed the park. Not wilderness by any means, yet we saw very few people. It was a nice place to spend a day. It is well worth the time to visit.


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