Bellingham’s Galbraith Mountain – How Now Brown POW

Tough to leave the goodness of BC behind… Some last minute Tim Bits in Vancouver, a quick passport check leaving Canada, and we’re back in the 42nd state.   Before heading east, I wanted a quick taste of the fabled “Galby” Galbraith Mountain, so we stayed in Bellingham (which is only 21 miles from the US/Canada border).

First thing’s first – Bellingham is a spread out, sprawling city of 92,000.   The historic downtown has some charm.  If you’re looking for grub,  I recommend Bellingham Cider Company which overlooks the up and coming Waterfront District.IMG_1600


A cider flight and a raspberry cider smoothing before the food!

Galbraith is on privately owned land.  But the local MTB advocacy group, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), has a recreational use agreement with the owners, and is responsible for all trail maintenance and construction.  This kind of cooperation between private land owners and a responsible recreation group is a fantastic example of how it’s done right!

Sooo… One day to ride.  Here’s how I did it.  24 miles of bliss and 3,400′ of climbing sprinkled in.  Strava link here.  Yes, it lived up to the hype.
I started on the “South Side” and finished at the “North Side”.


Climbing up Three Little Pigs was a blast – I loved the custom trail signs!

I got some ride beta ahead of time.  The “to-do” lap is Evo to Unemployment Line (U-Line) to Atomic Dog.  Too.  Much.  Fun.  U-Line is a perfect machine built jump line with smooth berms, tables, doubles, booters, etc.  Pretty much everything is rollable and has ride around options, so you don’t have to be “gnar-gnar” to have fun.  I’m kinda in the middle, and pretty chicken to damage myself these days… so I hit some of the smaller features, but didn’t attack the big stuff.  I’m still in one piece.
Personally, Atomic Dog was more my style.  Had a “natural” feel to it.  Not as perfect as U-Line, and the features more of the rooty and rocky type.  I did a couple laps and was in paradise.


I didn’t stop for photos on the downhill – too much flowy fun.  But this was climbing up to Wonderland

Of course, I love the ups as much as the downs… so I earned it by climbing Brick/Stick/Straw (Three Little Pigs) to Kaiser to Bottle Opener to Keystone to Naughty Nelly to Wonderland.  This was much more enjoyable than climbing the fire road to Whoopsie Woodle and Lair of the Bear (although the road was way faster, and I did that on my 2nd lap).
Such great diversity and specific character on all of the trails and some of the best handmade trail signs I’ve ever seen.  Between the quality of trails and fun signage, it’s quite apparent how much pride the locals take in this gem of a network.


Kaiser Trail – another great Trail Sign 🙂

I admit, I was a little bothered by the sounds of logging while riding, and seeing some clear cutting.  It took away from the “remote” vibe. Certain trails were closed (SST) because of tree farm operations… but word is it’ll be back better than ever.
Anyhoo… With a permagrin stuck to my face, I made my way to the North Side.  Dog Patch to Lost Giants to Mole Trap to Rock n Roll to Family Man to Intestine to Cleavage to Dragon Fly to Golden Spike.  Like I mentioned, SST was closed (bummer), but I hit Oriental Express and Air Chair to Back Door instead and was hooting and hollering and not a soul in site.  I met up with a handful of people on the South Side, but had the whole North Side to myself.


My favorite trail sign of them all – “Lost Giants” – and old beach cruiser hidden in the bushes with some custom welding.  Fantastic!!

I finished by riding down to Whatcom Falls Park and watched some local groms shredding the pump track.  The girlies met up for a little picnic and hiking around the falls.  Great way to end the day.


Lucy (rockin’ her Roots t-shirt from Canada) at Whatcom Falls Park

Pedal on.
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