Sehome Arboretum

Hours

Every day Dawn - Dusk

Review

It is an island of woodland in the heart of Bellingham. Spanning 165 acres of the Sehome hilltop, the Sehome Hill Arboretum crowns the city. This vast preserve of park land offers 5.9 miles of winding trails up, down and around the hilltop. Lightly used, nature lovers may witness birds and squirrels frolicking among the canopies of the towering evergreens. Deer are also abundant at the arboretum, as it serves as a haven from the increasingly developed surrounding area. The natural setting presents an abundance of indigenous plants, shrubs and trees.

All of Sehome Hill Arboretum’s trails come to a head at the hilltop where an opposing lookout tower stands. The only structure in the park, the 80-foot tower boasts an impressive view of the city, the San Juan Islands and beyond. Walkers, joggers and bicyclists tread the gravel trail paths. Disability access to the arboretum is limited due to the gravel trails, steep inclines and stairs. Consistent with its character as a semi-wild enclave, keep in mind that the park lacks restroom facilities, picnic areas and benches. Parking is available at the south entrance of the arboretum.

Visitors of the arboretum must also be aware that cougars have been sighted within the park’s boundaries on occasion. If any sightings have been recently reported, Western’s University Police will have warnings posted at the main access points of the area. Deer provide an ample source of food for a cougar and they don’t randomly attack people, but one might pose a danger if it feels threatened. To avoid an encounter with a cougar, be sure you or your pet make some noise during your travel and stay on the main trails. Otherwise, should you encounter a cougar, don’t run. Experts recommend tactics such as waving your arms wildly and throwing sticks and rocks in the cat’s direction. Also, be sure to report any sightings to city or campus police.
Written By: Ken Brierly
On: 10/19/1998

Directions

To get to the Sehome Hill Arboretum, take I-5’s Samish Way exit to Bill MacDonald Parkway. As you approach Western past Sehome High School, turn right on the access road across the street from the Washington Archive building. Parking is available at the end of the road.

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