While Bellingham has a lot of history and historic buildings, a few neighborhoods stand out as some of the oldest and York is one of those. Many of the houses come from just around the turn of the century and this neighborhood is one of the first middle-class neighborhoods in this region. The area is mostly single-family homes and there is a sense of cohesion and community spirit that is getting hard to find these days. There are plenty of restaurants and small businesses around the perimeter, but the interior is primarily residential. There are pet stores and veterinarian clinics around, but not in walking distance.
The mild Puget Sound climate makes walking possible almost all year-round. In Bellingham, there is the possibility of some cold temperatures and wind thanks to the proximity of the Fraser Valley. In addition, rainstorms with wind can sometimes put a kink in your walking plans.
There are a few hills in York and a few places that have a very gradual elevation change. Overall, you will find that York is fairly flat. Walking here is good for pups and their owners of all fitness levels. If you're just getting started walking, you can avoid most of the hills and only walk on easy terrain. If you are up for a challenge and want to take off a few pounds, you will find the hills in the neighborhood more than sufficient to get you started.
On the side roads, you can expect to see plenty of grassy shoulders as well as sidewalks. Your dog will enjoy the nice green grass in these areas. On the main roads, you will still have sidewalks but you won’t find the grass. The shoulders have all been done in brick, which looks nice, but does not give Fido anywhere to really explore or do their business.
There is only one greenway inside of York called Rock Hill Garden. This park has some grass and a few trees, but other than a playground, not much else. If you are looking for an adventure, however, the Sehome Hill Arboretum might just be the place you are looking for. It is just south of York and is part of Western Washington University but its trails are open for walking. There are 180 acres and over 5 miles of trails available. Dogs are allowed at the arboretum, but you must keep them on a leash. The area is full of native plants and flowers and has lots of elevation changes so it can make a nice alternative to walking the city streets.
Just west of York is another small park. If you happened to be headed in that direction, Laurel Park might make a nice place to stop and enjoy a bit of green grass and shade before you head home.