Sunday, June 12, 2011


Titanium Cowboy steeds atop Lookout Mountain overlooking Galby and Bellingham Bay.
Ran into Val Thompson at Haggens the other day and we got to talking about Lookout Mountain. Which got me a-thinkin' how I've not been there in years. So the following day, which be yesterday, the Titanium Cowboys and I loaded up the steeds and headed for the top of the 2,600-foot bump that from Bellingham looks like Galby's big brother.
Below are some pics and directions for how we got there. First, we headed up Galbraith from the Birch St. side (click here for info on the latest Galbraith Rd. access closure), and made our way via Cedar Dust, the Wall, etc. to the Tower Rd. We turned left, headed up and then left onto Rd. 4000 (the one that passes the Mullet) which we'd eventually follow all the way down to Lake Louise Rd. and Sudden Valley. Along the way we passed the Naughty Nelly-Keystone intersection; just keep following signs for Rd. 4000. See pics below.
Rd. 4000 by intersection of Naughty Nelly and Keystone. The small bump in the upper left is the top of Lookout Mtn, which is about 800 feet higher than Galbraith Mtn.
On the way down to Sudden Valley, we came across a porcupine (really, that's a porcupine running like heck for that black drainage pipe ), ...
... I got a flat tire, and after fixing that, we found ourselves at Lake Louise Rd. where we turned right. A half-mile farther ahead on the right, we found the gated access road ("Lookout Mountain Preserve" was painted on it) and we headed up. It's a pretty epic climb--2,100 feet in 5.3 miles--and given that there are several flat and even downhill stretches along the way, it boasts some crazy-steep pitches. For whatever reason I wasn't quite able to access my big boy climbing legs (perhaps I was still feeling the effects of the City Steeps ride just three days earlier), so it seemed harder than I remembered. The other cowboys climbed like angels though, dancing on the pedals the whole way.
Even though it wasn't a super clear day, at the summit we were treated to terrific island-, lake- and city views.
View from Lookout Mountain: that's Lake Samish in the foreground with Blanchard Mountain just beyond.

Beyond Titanium Cancellara is Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands, Lake Padden and a little bit of the Whoopsie Woodle side of Galbraith Mtn.
Heading back down requires 5 or 10 minutes of bushwacking. Just make for the stand of trees in the pic below, trending toward the left side. There're remnants of a trail (ish) so keep your eyes open.  

Eventually you reach a logging road. Go right and almost immediatlely, left (not straight). From here, there're myriad logging road intersections, but just stay on the main road that keeps descending; it's fairly obvious. After a 6-mile descent, you'll reach the rifle range (no doubt hearing it long before you see it), where you squeeze around a gate and follow the paved road down to Samish Way. You come out near the I-5 exit 246.
Turning right we headed up to Lake Padden and rode through the horse trails-slash-Indie Series expert loop (or whatever they call it) with an eye toward's next month's Padden Mountain Pedal. Click here for info on that race.)
Another great ride!

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