Issaquah or Bellingham

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Issaquah or Bellingham
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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 at 21:02 Quote
All things being equal jobwise, I have a choice to move to Bellingham or Issaquah, and would like any help I can get. I am single spend free time mountain biking or skiing, looking for any insight to local after work riding, best access to backcountry skiing, and maybe how bad traffic and housing costs would be. Thanks in advance.

Posted: Feb 24, 2018 at 18:39 Quote
Issaquah is about a 30 minute drive from Snoqualmie summit. Its not a big mountain elevation wise but it spans a pretty long ways. As far as lift tickets goes they are on par with all the other mountains (about 80 bucks) however they have one of the cheapest season passes (about 550). I have one since i live right next to issaquah and its worth it when you consider how close it is and they have night skiing. I can get off at 4 and still have a good 5 or five hours of shredding after a 35 minute drive. Bike wise Snoqualmie is one of the few mountains out here that runs lifts for mtb during the summer so thats cool. Being part of MT baker national park there is hundreds of square miles of riding. Lots of single track and downhill. Tiger mountain is also very close to issaquah. its about 1-1.5 hrs ride up depending on how fit you are but the ride down is sweep and can be pretty long given that most trails traverse the mountain instead of heading straight down. As far as i know traffic in town isnt bad. At most there might be rush hour traffic on I90 itself but Ive never seen much at all down that way. Cost of living is high compared to most places im sure but lower-ish as far as the local area is concerned. The other mountains will be between two and three hour drives. Mt baker is the cheapest daily at about 60 bucks. Crystal and Stevens pass are 80 but all are well worth it. I choose to have the season pass as snoqualmie despite it being the smallest because of how convenient it is distance wise and its good enough for after work shredding and saving money for bigger trips to the bigger mountains. Issaquah is quite close ot Bellevue which is a pretty big and nice city. Microsoft and Amazon are based there so its pretty upscale and expensive. Seattle is right across the lake. Also right in issaquah is Duthie hill. If you dont know about it look into it. Its a great park for riding and well maintianed. There is lots of man made features and skills things. Flow tracks, bridges, jumps, balance logs, and a bunch of other stuff. Its i think six square miles of bike trails and while there is lots of up and down on the trails themseleves the overall elevation of the area doesnt change by more that a couple hundred feet so when you shred through and need to work your way back to the starting area is quick and easy. Only takes a couple minutes. Ive gotten lost in there for many a hour.

Bellingham is further north. Its the last big city before Canada. Its right along the bottom of Baker so if you lived there Baker would be your most common mountain to hit. Anywhere in Bellingham and I think you could be on the lifts within an hour. Its also super close to Canada so you could probably be at Whistler within 3 hours. Whistler of course is well known for its mtb and snow scene as well as the always fun village. Also right across the boarder in that area is the Northshore riding area and everyone loves northshore. I dont know much about Bellingham traffic or cost of living wise as Ive never lived there, just been through for Baker. I dont think Baker runs its lifts for mtb but its part of the baker-snoqualmie national park so there is lots of trails still running through there. Honestly baker is the better mountain (one of the best) but like i said, for after work wise i think snoqualmie is more convenient not just distance wise depending on where you live but also just in ease of driving up. baker has a lot higher elevation and will be steeper and harder to get up. Obviously I know a lot more about living in and around Issaquah given thats where I live.

Posted: Feb 25, 2018 at 18:04 Quote
Great post, thank you for your help!

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 at 11:07 Quote
how long is the riding season in Issaquah, how often does the rain shut down the after work trails?

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 at 11:37 Quote
you can ride all year long in issaquah, but having spent time in both, bellingham would be better for skiing, as snoqualmie kinda sucks, and baker is great for skiing.
also bellingham has much better mountain biking at galbraith

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 at 21:43 Quote
Rain is a fact of life all over Washington that rarely stops anyone from doing anything. Rain snow or shine on my way to work at 6am there are people jogging and biking all over the place without fail. It doesnt stop anyone on the weekends hiking or riding or doing anything else. It just is. If no one did anything anytime it rained then people would never get out and be even more depressed than they get with all the grey clouds.

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 at 16:04 Quote
If work is going to pay the same Bellingham all the way. Lots of good riding close to town, Mt Baker, Canada is a hop skip and a jump away. Issaquah has a lot of good riding, but not quite as close to town. You do have more choices for skiing/snowboarding, Stevens, Crystal and Snoqualmie; 45 mins to 1.5 hours from issaquah. I looked into moving up to Bellingham years ago and the problem seemed to be finding a good job. Don’t get me wrong plenty of people live there but I don’t think there are as many opportunities as the Seattle metro area, also less traffic.

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 at 17:43 Quote
Bellingham all the way. More beer, more bikes, and access to skiing is pretty easy. And traffic on I90 pretty much sucks any time around rush hour. Cost of living in Issaquah is high. I suppose if you never leave the area it wouldn't be as much of a big deal.

Have you considered Bend, OR? Smile

Posted: Oct 9, 2019 at 19:33 Quote
Bellingham...but I'm partial as I was born and raised here!

A beautiful town right at the base of the hills with a great ski area AND exploring the San Juan Islands is well worth it! (Try shuttling Orcas Island's Mt. Constitution during the off season...)

If you're looking for a place to stay while in Bellingham check out:

#TinyGalbraith - Mt Biking Paradise - Tiny House

It's a beautiful tiny house RIGHT at the base of Galbraith Mountain. Endless trails at your doorstep and a great way to get to know Bellingham.

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