For an adventure outside of Bellingham, the Samish Overlook hike is fantastic. Offering stunning views of Skagit Valley and the San Juan Islands, the long trek up the mountain is completely worth it.
The hike has multiple starting points hikers can choose from, but all will end up at the large park on the top of the mountain. There is also an option to drive to the lookout instead. I saw a lot of families opt for this, but something to be aware of is parking in the area will require a Discover Pass. Personally, I had no problem paying for the day pass because the views were spectacular. Both hiking and driving require a Discover Pass, regardless of where you start.
Getting to the park is another challenge and will require a car. Off of exit 242 heading southbound, the park entrance is nestled into the side of a country road. From there, the regular pavement ends and all roads are gravel. The first parking lot is where the lower trail head begins, making the hike a total of about six miles. Expect a good four hours for the hike from this point and add some time to wander around the park at the top. If you keep driving straight to the upper trailhead, it will cut the hike in half.
The hike itself isn’t terrible but at times can be steep. Unlike the roads, the trails are maintained nicely and provide some benches along the way for hikers that need breaks or want a snack. There are long bouts of trail with little scenery, which can make the hike a little boring at points, but wanting to see the view at the top kept me motivated.
Since it’s a park with what I find to be some of Whatcom County’s best views, I was shocked to see there were not many people. Considering it was one of the nicest days this year, it seems like not many people want to make the hike or drive up, which is perfect when looking for a non-crowded area.
If looking for a somewhat difficult hike with some epic results, the Samish Lookout will no doubt be right up you alley. This, by far, was my favorite hike I’ve done around Bellingham.