This loop hits it all. A view at the top of Cleator, some great downhill, an uphill workout for a few miles, and a nice cruise on the Interurban Trail (did we mention the downhill? There's a lot, and it's awesome).
What Makes It Great
While you can ultimately choose your starting point, we suggest starting at the North Chuckanut Trailhead. Park here, go up the trailhead, and then take a right and continue south on the Interurban Trail. You'll have about a 2.5 mile warmup on the flat 'Urb', good for cruising and shaking the rust out of the legs. When you get to Cleator Road, take the left turn and start heading up. It's about a 3 mile climb, but it is toughest in the beginning, then mellows out to a gentler slope.
From the Cyprus Gates Overlook at the top, take the trail that signs "towards Lost Lake" - you'll head down an exhilarating and steep trail, known as Double Black, or more commonly as Chinscraper. From the bottom of Chinscraper, take the left on South Lost Lake Trail and follow it roughly 2.5 miles to Lost Lake (the sign down to the lake will be on your right). Now, you're on the North Lost Lake Trail... cruise on down. In total, this section is about 4.5 miles until you go through Arroyo Park and find yourself back next to the parking lot.
If you want to spice things up on the way down, hop onto Salal Trail, which is off the North Lost Lake Trail. You'll see it on your right, after about 2 miles down. Definitely worth the extra couple of minutes! Be wary of runners coming up - the trail can get dark in the afternoons.
Note: Doing this route backwards, while possible, is not nearly as enjoyable. Extensive climbing, and attempting to ride up Chinscraper is questionable, and could require a lot of walking of the bike.
Who is Going to Love It
Salal is a great single-track downhill. A winding trail that can help riders fine-tune their technical skills and give advanced riders the chance to cruise.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead is between Old Samish Road and California Street off of Chuckanut Drive. Heading south from Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive, it takes 5-10 minutes, and is nearly impossible to miss. Parking is free and plentiful. There is another parking lot if you choose to take the left onto Old Samish Road, about a quarter mile further, though this parking is limited. One might only use this trailhead if they wish to run through the other side of Arroyo Park, cross the bridge and head up... the first available left turn after crossing over the creek is the beginning of the Hemlock/Lost Lake Trail.
You can choose to park further south at the bottom of Cleator (limited space), clearly signed off of Chuckanut Drive. In this scenario, riders would start on the Cleator uphill, and finish their ride by riding along the 'Urb' from the bottom of the North Lost Lake Trail.