Marine Drive to Hovander Park Trail – EASY
I searched all over google for the correct name for this trail. “Nooksack River Trail,” “River Dike Trail,” and “Tennant Lake to Marine Drive Trail” were all different names that came up. The parking lots on both Marine Dr. and Slater Rd. didn’t have names on them either. No matter the name, the trail was a beautiful, flat trail along Nooksack River!
The trail is about 4 miles each direction going all the way from Marine Dr. to Hovander Park, but you could easily start at the Slater Rd. parking lot and go to Hovander Park for a 2-mile round trip. Slater Rd. to Hovander Park is much wider of a trail than between Marine Dr. and Slater Rd. The entrance on Marine Dr. is a little tricky to find. Going west on Marine Drive, it is on the right side of the road right after the bridge for Silver Creek and right before the bridge for the Nooksack River.
My sister and her 1-year-old came with us so we had Eliza ride on an awesome tag-along bike I got free on Facebook! Oliver and his cousin rode in the bike trailer. Eliza is not even close to being able to ride a bike with no training wheels, but she easily stayed on the tag-along bike for the ride! The only downside is that Eliza weighs 35 pounds and the tag-along weighs probably 30 pounds so it was a lot of extra weight for me to carry. Seth is used to towing the bike trailer with almost 100 pounds when fully loaded with kids and supplies!
The trail is great for both biking and hiking, but the trail between Marine Dr. and Slater Rd. is pretty skinny (singletrack) so Seth was towing the trailer with both wheels on grass. Once we got to Hovander Park, we biked to downtown Ferndale for ice cream. Round-trip it was about 10 miles total – perfect for an afternoon bike ride!
The trail was not too busy, and it is plenty wide enough to social-distance. Nearly every walker we passed either had masks on or put them on when we went by.
There were plenty of places you could access little beaches along the river on the trail too which would be fun for a stop for a snack or picnic if you were walking.
One thing to note is that the parking lots at both Marine Drive and Slater Road had signs that you needed a Discover pass. We (for the 3rd time this year) forgot our Discover Pass in the other car than the one we brought and we risked it and did not get ticketed. I wish they would just give you two passes with one spot to write the license plate instead of one pass with two places for license plates! If you do not have a Discover Pass you could park for free at Hovander Park and do the trail the opposite direction!
I’d love to know of any other hidden gems in Whatcom/Skagit County! We usually go to Canada for our outdoor family adventures, but it looks like that won’t be happening this year. Happy hiking!