I had a short amount of time while waiting in the Happy Valley neighborhood in Bellingham, Washington. As often I do, I popped open Google Maps to see what was green on it. I noted there was the Happy Valley Park, a creek and a trail through it, so I took off on a stroll. Urban hiking might be more walking than hiking, but it can be worth the time. I started at the Starbucks on Old Fairhaven Parkway, which is just off Interstate 5 (I-5) and is on the right side of the road. I walked down to Old Fairhaven Parkway, crossed 30th Street with the light.
I looked over and could see Padden Creek running from under the road. The city has turned the area into a natural looking stream bed now – with downed trees and root balls. Yes, you can see urban homes, but yet….if you look down it doesn’t feel that way.
As I walked a short distance on the wide sidewalk, I noted the park entrance to the right. See here for a map of the area in PDF format.
The trail is wide, smooth and marked. It was sunny and almost warm yesterday. So many birds out singing loudly.
The trail comes to cross Padden Creek over a well built bridge.
Looking down at the creek.
In a week or three this wet area will be alive with color as Spring shows up.
The trail splits before the second creek crossing. Take your choice, they both go out to Donovan Street. The one to the left(ish) crosses the creek, then comes out to picnic areas and a nice little playground, then winds out to the street.
Looking down at the creek from the second bridge.
The other trail, to the right.
The trail through the park isn’t long by any means. It’s about 1/10th of a mile one way, straight thru, road to road. But the fascinating part is you don’t hear the traffic once you step onto the trail. The creek white noises it out. It’s open, sunny and peaceful.
I turned right onto Donovan Street and walked on the sidewalk back up to 30th, then up that to Starbucks, to complete the loop.
However, as a bonus, as I was nearing 30th. I noticed a trail heading off that I had no idea existed. I love urban neighborhoods that hide alternative transportation trails. For walker and those on bicycles. It is the Connelly Creek Trail System, and it goes to Sehome Arboretum, and as well to the college campus. (Map is linked at the top)
You can also connect to the Interurban Trail just a bit farther down Old Fairhaven Parkway on the other side of the road.
What can look like a walk so short it might not be worth the time, is often more than worth your time – because it is relaxing, and then shows you a whole slew of other trails to take when you have more time.
Stroller/wheelchair friendly. There is parking on the Donovan St side.