Located near the banks of Lake Whatcom, sits the 116 acre Stimpson Nature Reserve. This complex ecosystem, donated to the Whatcom Land Trust by the Stimpson family in 2003, boasts pristine old growth forest and a variety of creatures, abundant in views of lush ponds and wetlands, and, depending on the season, my personal favorite trail goer, the mushroom.
Finding the trail head
The trail head is located East on Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, WA. (I-5 exit #253). After following the winding road for a bit, you will come to the crest of a hill and start to see the waters of Lake Whatcom ahead of you, at this point, you will want to turn right onto Austin Street. After a few miles, this road turns into Lake Louise Road. Drive for about 1.5 miles and you will find the quaint trail head located on the left hand side of the road. There are restrooms there, along with a small parking lot that can accommodate around 20 cars.
The Trail Itself The trail-head is really easy to find and is located by the large maps, next to the two restrooms. You have some choices here as to which trails you want to take, but take into account, as an avid hiker, that this is not a strenuous hike. It is more of a slightly uphill walk at times.
I liked staying on the main-loop trail, which consists of some very easy uphill and very good signage if you are concerned about which direction to head, and is about a 2.8 mile loop. Along this route, I was able to spot a multitude of wild mushrooms, along with this little guy.The trail is pretty straightforward, there is one false turn off that you could take before hitting the turn off for the Geneva Pond (I was a rebel and didn’t follow the arrow that said “MAIN TRAIL,” instead, we went to the right as to no have followers along our walk). If you decide to be a rebel like me, (Which I highly recommend. Who wants someone on your tail? Not me!) just ignore the false trail, and continue onto the left hand side of the trail until you see a sign that says main trail, and Geneva Pond. I would recommend going to the pond hands down. It is a super easy trail down there, and you get to cross some cute little bridges with some wetland underneath (Thank you Eagle Scouts!). The trail to the pond and back to the main trail head is about 1.2 miles, but the opportunities for seeing ducks and other birds here are really great. The pond is dreamy, especially if you can hit it while the fall colors are in full swing! Once you reach the far end of the pond, there will be a nice stone bench on which you can relax and enjoy the sounds of the birds, get some water and a snack, and move on down the trail. Don’t get confused on the way out, the trail going into the pond is teardrop shaped, so you want to make sure that you continue on the trail that goes toward the pond trail head, and not just back around to the pond. After leaving the pond, you have a short jaunt over to the main trail sign, and a quick .4 mile walk back to the parking lot.
Hope you can enjoy this microadventure on your own own of these days and thanks for reading!