Easy/Moderate Hike - Fragrance Lake - Bellingham

Traction devices for your  feet are MANDATORY on this hike.  You must bring along Yak Trax or something similar to put on your feet in the event that we encounter snowy, icy conditions. 

NO Children under the age of 16.

Please read all the info I have in the Pages section of this site and come prepared. You are responsible for your own safety , but your preparedness affects the entire group.

Please be aware that at this time of year, especially, that inclement weather, dangerous road conditions and illness may cancel or postpone this event. Please be sure to check this site before leaving to attend for any last minute updates.

This one has been on my list for a couple of years but I haven't made it up there to do it yet. No time like the present.  Anybody else want to come along.

Puget Sound and Islands -- North Sound
Larrabee State Park
A popular spot in the heart of the Chuckanut Mountains, little Fragrance Lake makes for a fine destination any time of year. On a well-built hiker-only trail through big timber, the way to Fragrance Lake includes a scenic lookout of Samish Bay and a glistening horizon dotted with islands. Loop back on a gentle old fire road and admire a crashing cascade. And if more exercise and exploration are desired, miles of interconnecting trails will more than satisfy. You won't be without company however-folks from Bellingham flock to this "backyard wilderness."

Waste no time warming up. The trail commences in a series of short, steep switchbacks. Upward mobility is quickly interrupted, however, upon intersecting the Interurban Trail. Once a trolley line that serviced Mount Vernon and Bellingham in the early twentieth century, the railbed was converted into a 6-mile trail in the late 1980s.

Cross the Interurban, regaining the Fragrance Lake Trail a few dozen feet to your right. Through a dark, dank forest of mature cedar and Doug-fir the trail winds its way upward. At 0.9 mile (elev. 600 ft) reach a well-marked junction. Take the fairly level side path 0.2 mile to a madrona-framed ledge that grants delightful views westward over Samish Bay to Lummi Island and the San Juans.

Soak up the scenery and perhaps some sunshine, then resume your trek to Fragrance Lake . Back under a coniferous canopy, the trail briefly dips into a damp ravine before once again heading upward, occasionally at a steep pitch. At 1.9 miles pass through a bike barricade and arrive at another junction. The trail left heads to Fragrance Lake . The trail right leads to an old road (your return trip).

Head left first, slightly dropping into a muddy depression. Reach the small lake in about 0.1 mile and circumnavigate it on a 0.7-mile loop. Take a break at a pair of shoreline benches. Admire big cedars and babbling brooks along the eastern shore, and be impressed by a series of sandstone ledges along the western shore.

For your return, follow the old road for a gentle descent, pausing briefly about halfway to check out a pretty little cascade. The road ends in 2.2 miles, delivering you to the Clayton Beach parking lot. Return to your vehicle by following the Interurban Trail 0.5 mile north back to the Fragrance Lake Trail.
Driving Directions:

From Mount Vernon head north on I-5 to exit 231. Follow State Route 11 (Chuckanut Drive) north for just shy of 15 miles. The trailhead is on right side of the road just after the campground entrance to Larrabee State Park. If you're coming from Bellingham follow SR 11 south for 7 miles to the trailhead (elev. 100 ft). Alternative parking is located near the campground entrance booth and 0.4 mile south at the Clayton Beach trailhead. Water and privy available at the nearby day-use beach area.

Statistics
Roundtrip 5.5 miles Elevation Gain 1000 ft Highest Point 1100 ft
Features
Lakes
Mountain views
User info
Discover Pass required
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash

Dogs are required to be leashed on this hike (no retractible leashes or leashes longer than 6 ft). If you decide you want to unleash your dog, it must be under voice control, stay on the trail, and away from leashed dogs. Give your self and dog adequate space from others. Please respect other hikers on the trail and restrain your dog when approaching or being approached by others. This will be the first meeting for many of the dogs, so let them get acquainted slowly as we walk. It takes time to form a pack. Not all dogs want to be greeted exuberantly, so take care and precaution. Also, dog waste needs to be buried (6 inches) or carried. Leaving along the trail to be picked up later is an eyesore for others , even in a bag,(especially with the number in our group) and is sometimes forgotten on the way out.

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  • Kathy L.

    It was beautiful and sunny in Bellingham. Nice hike with a frozen lake at the end.

    January 20, 2013

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