A popular family-friendly trail in Bellingham offers a serene hike through old growth forests and options to loop around the lake or catch a view of the Puget Sound.

Take Chuckanut Drive to the trailhead which is located directly across from the entrance to Larrabee State Park. A small lot in front of the trail has space for 8-10 cars, or you can park at the State Park and walk across the road (carefully!) to reach the trailhead. Either way you will need a Discover Pass, or pay $10 for day parking.

This is a popular trail for Bellingham residents, but do not fear, the lush undergrowth and the giant trees make it feel secluded and absorb the noise of any nearby hikers. Further, this means that it is well maintained by WTA. So while this is a great trail for kids and leashed dogs, you’ll still feel like you got your exercise by climbing the spurts of steep switchbacks.

There are two wooden ‘Z-gates’ that discourage bikers from navigating onto the trail, one at the very beginning of the trail, and one at the end. After passing through the first gate cross the gravel road and head in front of you to the right where a sign says ‘Hikers Only’ to begin your hike. There is one downed tree on the trail, but it is easy to navigate, and with the amount of maintenance this trail receives, it will probably not be around for long. After a mile you will reach a junction with clear signage that indicates an option for an additional 0.2 miles to reach a viewpoint overlooking Samish Bay. Chose this option or continue to the lake by heading right and get ready for some switchbacks. 

At the corner of most switchbacks, and other places along the trail, are wooden benches that offer some relief if you need it. Continue to the second ‘Z-gate’ and you are almost to the lake! There is a third ‘Z-gate’ that reconnects to the gravel road off to the right, but ignore this and continue straight to reach the lake. 

Rest at some of the benches or take the 0.75 mile loop around the lake as you walk over various boardwalks and bridges to take in different views of the lake.

Pro Tip: If you are doing this hike on a Summer day, Sirena Gelato in historic downtown Fairhaven makes the perfect post-hike snack!

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • Snacks and water
  • Day pack
  • Camera
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RT Distance 5.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 950 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Lovely Short Hike

Beautiful little hike, with a nice lake and the end and also a beautiful overlook about a mile in. The trail was a little muddy but overall an awesome hike I'd do again!

Nice way to spend half a day

The hike to Fragrance Lake will get your blood and heart pumping for sure! I've done it a couple times and it's a great hike if you're in the Chuckanuts.

Great Little Hike

Just moved up here and was one of the first hikes we did. It was great


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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