Weekly Microadventure: Tennant Lake Park

Even on those classic cold PNW days, there are some really neat places to explore close to home. One of those places for me is Tennant Lake Park. During the summer, the park hosts a beautiful Fragrance Garden and Interpretive Center which is definitely worth checking out, but in the winter, it’s just the observatory and the trails that are open.

Getting There

It doesn’t get much closer or easier than this spot. From Bellingham, head north on I-5 then take exit 262 and head through downtown Ferndale. Little under a half mile down Main Street, take a sharp left on the Hovander Road and then fairly quickly take a right onto Nielsen Avenue (there is a sign on the road). Follow the road to the dead end and the parking lot.

My favorite part of coming to Tennant Lake is the boardwalk through the marshes and the observation tower. You come to the observation tower first. Rebuilt in the early 2000s, the views of Mt. Baker on a clear day from the top will blow your mind. I guess the views of Mt. Baker from most of this park are pretty spectacular!

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The Observation Tower

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Mt. Baker from the top of the Observation Tower

Now head into the marshes! While in the summer your senses would be overwhelmed with the sounds of the birds chirping, the scents of the fragrance garden filling your nostrils and the warmth of the sun, visiting Tennant Lake during the winter gives a different ambience. The ice here gets really thick when it’s cold because the water is so shallow, and it creaks and cracks as you walk along the boardwalk… a little creepy, but cool. It’s also way easier to see Mt. Baker off in the distance during the winter when there aren’t any leaves on the trees! When you leave the observation tower, take a left through a gate with some cat tails on it. Following this trail will take you on a boardwalk tour of the marshes and give you some AMAZING views of Mt. Baker. The loop takes about 35 minutes and is about 1 mile around.

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This reminded me of Robert Frost’s – The Road Not Taken

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I really liked coming out here during this recent cold spell! Made for some spectacular ice and no crowds (: So there you have it, Tennant Lake Park! The perfect place for just about anything. Bring your kids, your significant other, your dog; whomever or whatever you like to adventure with and #maketrails my friends.

Side Note

The really cool thing about this place is how accessible it is. The whole property can be accessed by wheelchair and for the activities that aren’t possible in a wheelchair, such as the observation tower, they have installed cameras that allow the user to see the views at the top! Even the winding boardwalk trails through the wetlands are accessible with ramps and all! Truly a place for all ages and abilities (:


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