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Bellingham is a land that offers many different breeds of mountain bike trails.
In this incredible mountain bike destination, you can find flowy cross country trails; sculpted jump lines that would be right at home in a downhill bike park; steep, sketchy natural lines; wooden bridges; massive drops; and so much more.
Galbraith Mountain represents the smoother, more manicured version of Bellingham mountain biking, while Brown Pow is one of the most renowned natural trails. This loop ride on Brown Pow begins with a grunt of a climb up the Chanterelle Trail.
The climbing singletrack is smooth and non-technical, but there's no two bones about it: this is a steep uphill grunt.
Even with the switchbacks and the benchcut traverses, some riders may have to push up sections of the climb.
Thankfully, about two-thirds of the way up you'll reach a break in the trees that provides an incredible overlook of Lake Whatcom below you.
This is a great spot to catch your breath before tackling the last third of the climb. After finally reaching the top of Brown Pow, it's time to pull the pads on, focus your attention, and get ready to shred! This iconic trail is a fast, steep romp that feels like it flies straight back down the mountainside.
The narrow singletrack is very steep in places, dropping straight down the fall line before funneling into small catch berms.
This isn't the steepest trail in Bellingham, however, as the steep sections on Brown Pow are interspersed with milder grades that serve as "landings" before the next steep drop. Slippery roots lace the trail the entire way down, and when wet, these can be especially treacherous.
While the roots are likely the most difficult obstacle on this trail, the most visually-impressive obstacle that many people talk about are the three mandatory drops that you'll have to negotiate.
When I say "mandatory," I mean that there truly is no ride-around option available.
That said, it's definitely possible to stop, get off, and walk your bike down the drops, but don't expect to find a rollable line on these hucks. Here's the big caveat: these drops are really quite small in the grand scheme of things.
All three of the hucks consist of 2-3 foot drops formed by old fallen logs across the trail.
The upper two hucks send you to quite steep landings, and with a bit of speed, you can find yourself dropping a substantial distance before you finally connect with the ground. The in run and out run for the final drop are both on a milder grade, but the final huck is a step-down drop that requires you to gap out a bit to the landing.
Again, this drop isn't large in the grand scheme of things, and most advanced riders will have no problem with it. If you're tired of the sculpted berms and manicured trails of Galbraith Mountain, try the old-school gnar of Brown Pow on for size!