Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Sehome Hill Arboretum

Distance: There are around 6 miles of trails in this park.

Elevation Gain:

Maximum Elevation:

Season: Year round

Maps: You can download and print a map from here.

Description: Nestled next to the campus of Western Washington University is this natural area of native vegetation. Trails are paved, dirt and gravel, and are easy for little feet to travel. Beginning from the main parking area, head to the right and walk through the cool rock tunnel. Kids will be interested to imagine old autos driving through it years ago. Now it has been set aside for people to enjoy and marvel at. Continue from there to the right, following signs to the Observation Tower. Children will have fun climbing the stairs to the very top, where they will be among the tree tops and can see out to Bellingham, the water, and the mountains to the east. From the tower you can continue on the Huntoon Trail to the site of some sandstone cliffs and exposed rock beds. Ask children to feel the texture of the rock; see if they can find the tilting layers in the second cliffy area. Heading back up the Huntoon trail, look to the right for an unsigned dirt path, which leads to the Quiet Rocks. This little sitting area makes a fine place to rest and have a snack, while watching and listening to birds and seeing if you can see any other creatures.

Directions: From I-5 in Bellingham heading north, take Exit 252, Samish Way, and follow Samish Way where it veers to the left. Make another left onto Bill McDonald Parkway, pass Sehome High School. Turn right onto 25th St.; look for signs for the Arboretum. There are some parking spots at the bottom of the hill, or you can continue on the road into the middle of the Arboretum to find the main trailhead and parking area.

Links: You can read more about the Arboretum, including its history and geology, at the website.