The Connelly Creek Nature Area Walk

Connelly Creek Trail near Sehome Village
Connelly Creek Trail near Sehome Village, Bellingham, Washington

We took this walk about three or four weeks ago, during that one week every fall when the turning leaves reach the height of color and seem to vibrate with the intensity of a hot summer sun. At every turn, we were met with another shade of gold or red, providing a visual memory of warmer days in the midst of crisp autumnal air, an interesting juxtaposition to summer’s warmth and cooling green.

Fall Leaves
Fall Leaves

Since we live near Whatcom Falls Park, most of our walks, as this one did, begin there. We set out to walk to Fairhaven via a favorite back road route we have cobbled together over several hit-and-miss walks. From Fairhaven, we walk back to downtown Bellingham and either walk or take a WTA bus home (up the hill). The walk to downtown is about 11 miles and to back Whatcom Falls Park is about 14 or 15 miles. Either way, it’s an all-day excursion. Our route takes us over Bellingham’s southern foothills just east of I-5, through the Puget neighborhood, and drops us down into the Sehome Shopping Center area. This is where we happily discovered an entirely new constellation of interconnected trails called the Connelly Creek Trail and Nature Area. We caught the trail by climbing the stairs on the west end of Adams Street, one block south of the Ferry Avenue trail head.

Initially the trail threads its way through a thin area sandwiched between apartments and condominiums before emerging into the green open fields of the iconic Joe’s Garden produce farm. This was a real treat. We stood for a long time just looking.


Aaron, coming into Joe's Garden area on Connelly Creek Trail
Aaron, coming into Joe’s Garden area on Connelly Creek Trail
Wintering fields at Joe's Garden, Bellingham, WA
Wintering fields at Joe’s Garden, Bellingham, WA

The trail crosses Taylor Avenue at Joe’s Garden and enters the larger Connelly Creek Nature Area. Here, you cross the creek many times. Numerous bridges give you glimpses of the creek along the way. There are many trail crossings and spurs leading into the neighborhoods of Happy Valley. The trail is well marked.

Bridge over Connelly Creek
Bridge over Connelly Creek
Connelly Creek
Connelly Creek
Trail Markers ~ Connelly Creek Trail
Trail Markers ~ Connelly Creek Trail
Connelly Creek Trail
Connelly Creek Trail

We followed the trail to Old Fairhaven Parkway and jumped on the Interurban Trail at the corner of Old Fairhaven Parkway and 24th Street. This section of the Interurban follows Padden Creek and provides access to Fairhaven Park. It eventually ends in the heart of Fairhaven with its many restaurants and cafes offering rewarding refreshments for the famished walker! Walking south (the other way) on the Interurban takes takes the walker all the way to Larabee State Park. From Fairhaven, it’s about 17 miles round trip. We’ve done it once and hope to do it again soon.

Interurban Trail History
Interurban Trail Welcome Sign
History of Interurban Trail
History of Interurban Trail
Going under 12 Street Bridge, Fairhaven
Walking under 12th Street Bridge, Fairhaven

The walk from Fairhaven to Bellingham along the South Bay Trail is a favorite for obvious reasons. It can lift any mood.

Bellingham Bay ~ South Bay Trail at Taylor Avenue
Bellingham Bay ~ South Bay Trail Head at Taylor Avenue

Discovering Connelly Creek Trail and Nature Area has only added to our appreciation for the value Bellingham and its residents place on creating and maintaining an interconnected system of trails. The urban walker is truly fortunate. We look forward to our next trail discovery!

Happy Walking!




3 thoughts on “The Connelly Creek Nature Area Walk

  1. Maggie Kinsella November 12, 2016 / 12:11 am

    Love it!! Thanks!




  2. Julie Selleck November 12, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } 😊 still loving reading these posts. You live in an amazing area. Thanks so much for sharing. ❌⭕️🍂🍁

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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