When runners are looking for an uphill workout, they come to Cleator Road. Three miles long, it starts quick and steep, then let's you find your rhythm with some occasional flat sections before the final couple uphill turns. The dirt road is the way to Cyprus Gates Overlook, where trails/roads lead off to Fragrance Lake, Lost Lake, Chuckanut Ridge, and more. The bottom of Cleator Road begins at an intersection with the Interurban Trail, so runners looking to warm up can have a flat dose of milage and then start the uphill tempo.
What Makes It Great
The 3 miles up will test runners on both their uphill strength and endurance capabilities, and is great for all levels. An occasional car will pass by as they drive up and down for the top trailhead, but the road is plenty wide for both. There are great views over the bay on the way up, as well as restrooms and picnic tables at the top view point.
Cleator has a couple different connecting trails to Chuckanut Ridge, the single-track that snakes along the forest above the road. There is free parking at the top and the bottom, though parking is limited at the bottom lot. Many runners choose to park along other Interurban Trailheads and use the flat warmup before the climb.
Who is Going to Love It
Many local running clubs, as well as high school and college teams, use Cleator for workouts, so this is a great training run for those looking ahead to both trail races or road races.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Cleator from Bellingham, drive South down Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) for about 10 minutes. Turn left on Cleator Road, also signed as Hiline Road.