The White City/Northridge Park Loop Walk

A Bit of History…

Did you know that there was once an amusement park on the shores of Lake Whatcom? White City was its name and it was located on the north shore of Lake Whatcom in the early 1900’s. There was a Ferris wheel, a 15 room hotel, a roller coaster, an ice cream parlor, and boats for rent. The citizens of Bellingham would vacation at White City. They would ride the street cars on the Lake Line to the last stop at White City. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any remnants of this once bustling vacation spot, but it is still fun to walk along the lake and try to imagine it. Here is an image of White City in Bellingham in its heyday. I just read that it got its name “White City” because it was lit up by electric lights, making it white. I wonder if that is how Electric Avenue got its name.

White City was located in the Silver Beach neighborhood of Bellingham
White City was located in the Silver Beach neighborhood of Bellingham
Site of White City from Bloedel-Donovan Park's boat ramp
Site of White City from Bloedel-Donovan Park’s boat ramp

The Route…

This walk begins at Bloedel-Donovan Park’s parking lot on Electric Avenue in Bellingham. The walk is about 5 miles long with good elevation gain up to Northridge Park, descending back to Bloedel-Donovan Park. After parking in the lot, take a moment to walk over to the boat ramp and look across the lake to some square shaped condominiums. You will see that the land is quite flat around a lovely inlet. Try to imagine a Ferris wheel and roller coaster towering above the trees. It must have been quite exciting for the early residents of Bellingham to ride the streetcar out to the country and find an amusement park at the end of the line! Walk out to Electric Avenue and follow it till it becomes Northshore Drive. Follow Northshore around the top of the lake until you come to a 90 degree turn. Go straight onto Poplar and follow it around until you come back to Northshore. Cross Northshore and go up the hill on Academy until you come to Silver Beach Elementary School. Keep looking back as you ascend to get a good view of the lake and the area of White City. Take the first driveway that turns to the right at the school, next to a red brick building. This driveway will take you to the trail head to Northridge Park. As the trail meanders through stands of cedar and Douglas Fir, sword ferns, and vine maple, keep following signs for Northridge Park. You will eventually go under Barkley Boulevard through a metal culvert. Once you do, stay left and go on to complete the loop in Northridge Park. You will catch some beautiful views of the bay and of the flat land to the north as this trail ascends. On your way back, you could take a slight detour to see the sculptures at Big Rock Park. Once back at Silver Beach Elementary, wend your way back down through the quaint neighborhood of Silver Beach to Northshore Drive and back to Bloedel-Donovan Park. Be sure to go to http://www.cob.org to download maps of the parks and trails.

Appreciations…

Bellingham is a city full of parks with walking trails that connect many of them. This walk begins and ends at a park and takes the walker through Northridge Park and very close to Big Rock Park and Whatcom Falls Park. I am very appreciative of those people, so long ago, who carried the vision and imagination of these parks for a future Bellingham they would never see.

Enjoy!

~Ann