Visible from Bellingham’s waterfront on even the drizzliest of days, Lummi Island is considered the most accessible of the San Juan Islands. A thirty-minute drive from downtown will get you to the ferry dock. Once there, the Whatcom Chief ferry awaits to shuttle you and up to 19 other cars across to Lummi in an eight-minute ride. Watch your mirrors – vehicles are packed in tight. Your first order of business upon arrival at Lummi should be: pull over near the ferry dock, get out of your car, turn around, and behold the spectacle that is Mount Baker. On a clear day, views of Koma Kulshan from the island are breathtaking.
There are plenty of good reasons to visit Lummi Island: beaches, fine dining, or a weekend getaway. We went to hike. The Baker Preserve Trail “rises 1,050 feet over 1.6 miles to a high cliff on the western face of Lummi Mountain” according to the Lummi Island Heritage Trust website. Interestingly, Baker Preserve is named after the family that owns the land, not after Mount Baker.
The Baker Preserve Trail is moderately steep, especially so in the beginning. Climb through forest and ferns to the overlook at 1.6 miles, where views of the San Juan Islands are only slightly blocked by a couple pesky trees.
Allow approximately one hour to reach the viewpoint. From here, the trail continues up for a mile or more towards Lummi Peak. Unless you’re a determined peak-bagger with GPS coordinates, we recommend turning around at the overlook. The route to the peak may cross private property, so continue at your own risk. After returning to the trailhead, consider exploring the island a bit more before heading home.
Everything about our visit to the island was tiny (or pint-sized, if you will). We took a tiny ferry to a mini island with an itsy-bitsy trailhead parking lot, climbed a short trail and later explored some cute little beaches. There are three public beaches on the island, each offering a different perspective. Sunset Beach is located on the West side of the island, and there is public beach access across from the Beach Front Café near the ferry landing with gorgeous views of Mount Baker and Bellingham Bay. The third beach is accessed from the parking lot of Lummi Island Congregational Church with views of the San Juan Islands, particularly Orcas.
For additional information on the Baker Preserve Trail and Lummi Island, check out the following:
Lummi Island Heritage Trust
Washington Trails Association