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Family Hike to Fragrance Lake: A Great Hike near Bellingham for kids

Last updated Jan 7, 2020 | Published on Aug 14, 2018

5.5 miles
950 feet elevation gain

In celebration of hike-a-thon, I went on a hike this weekend with with my team, The Amazing Shaw Family. We chose Fragrance Lake for our adventure as it’s centrally located between our homes. We hoped the hike would push but not overly challenge my niece and nephews, who range in ages from 4 to 7.

The Amazing Shaw Family.  From left to right: Back row – Katy, Kirsten, Anthony, Bethany.  Front Row – Nate, Collin, Ava.  Not pictured: Eileen

Ava strikes a pose

The trailhead for Fragrance Lake begins at Larabee State Park south of Bellingham. The parking area was full so we found parking inside the state park and walked to the entrance. We paused for a family photo at the trailhead, although sadly we were missing one of our team members as my mom Eileen was not able to make it.

On the trail

Hiking up switchbacks

Checking out an old burned out tree

The trail is a pleasant and well-maintained path through moss-covered old growth forest. Collin and Nate pretended to be motorcycles and zoomed past and around eachother as we walked. After one mile, we came to a junction with a short spur trail to a view overlooking Samish Bay.

Anthony regards Samish Bay

Ava and me

Collin and Kirsten

Bethany and Max

The trail dips in elevation for a bit before continuing uphill. There are some surprisingly steep bits in this section and we did a bit of slipping and sliding. We also took lots of breaks at the many conveniently-placed benches along the trail.

Break time for the Marquez family

Nate deftly dodges our attempt at a kid’s picture

Cousin time 😊

Nate takes a breather

The Marquez ladies

We came Fragrance Lake around 1:00 and stopped for a lunch break. We elected not to take the short loop around the lake as the youngest two kiddos were getting tired and we didn’t want to push our luck.

Ava regards the lake

These two are adorable. They love spending time together 😊

The Marquez men

Nate models my hat

The Shaw sisters 😊

On the return trip, I ended up at the back of the pack with my 7-year-old niece Ava. She insisted on waiting until the rest of the family was out of sight so we could pretend that we were on a hike alone. She’s been hearing stories about Aunty Katy’s hiking adventures for years and has been looking forward all week to Sunday’s hike. And so have I. It was such a pleasure to share my passion of hiking with her and with the rest of my family.

My heart is full.

Ava thought this tree looked like it was wearing a crown

Ava strikes another pose

Being silly

Ava and Aunty Katy

The hike-a-thon is here! During the month of August The Amazing Shaw Family will be raising money for the Washington Trails Association. Please consider sponsoring a member of my hiking team by visiting one of the links below.





Unicorn (that’s me!)


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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


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