Whatcom Falls, Washington

If you live near Bellingham, you may have already heard of Whatcom Falls. If you haven’t, or you’re planning on visiting, you should check out Whatcom Falls Park. This very easy to visit waterfall is found just west of the city center, and the park is enjoyable, even if you’re not planning on visiting the waterfall.

After getting to the park, which isn’t extremely difficult, it’s just a short two minute walk to the falls (maybe even less than that). If I remember correctly, it might even be handicapped accessible. It’s that easy! It was sprinkling when I visited (which isn’t really shocking), though it was expected to get windier and stormier as the day progressed. After finding the main waterfall, I went in search of others. There is a rather complex trail system which is well set up. I thought I had read there was a smaller Whatcom Falls, but couldn’t seem to find it along Whatcom Creek. After wandering around for a while, I gave up, since it wasn’t particularly warm on this early-November day (though it was still a great day to see the main falls). After looking at a few other pictures, I don’t remember how easy it would have been to get the creek from the trail, but there may be some great shots with the bridge going over the creek. I didn’t try that option…

Directions:

  1. From Bellingham, head west on Lakeway Drive.
  2. After the intersection of Woburn/Yew Street, the next junction on your left will be Silver Beach Road. Turn left onto Silver Beach Road.
  3. This will lead you into the park. If I remember correctly, there are signs pointing the way to the falls/creek bridge. I remember the parking area being directly opposite a picnic/playground area. (If in doubt, look for the creek and walk adjacent to the creek. The falls are just upstream from the bridge over the creek.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Whatcom Falls in November 2013

Where in the World is Whatcom Falls?

Nooksack Falls, Washington

I visited the Seattle region this past weekend, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect weather-wise. Rain would be predicted in the region, and it did rain. It was also predicted that there would be snow at higher elevations as the day progressed. This made me a little bit concerned. Being from Michigan, I’m no stranger to snow, but I also don’t enjoy driving in it! I decided, though, that I was going to head in the direction of Nooksack Falls, and hope that there wasn’t any snow in my way.

My worries weren’t really founded (though I still think you should pay attention to the weather, and turn back if you do think think it’s too dangerous). The whole drive the falls was wet, but by no means snowy. One book reports the elevation of Nooksack Falls at 2500′, but it is closer to 1600′. The book also suggests the height is something around 180′, where as it’s about 100′ shorter at 88′. While I’m not sure I’d trust the numbers, the directions worked. The falls weren’t at their peak flow, but they were still enjoyable.

Because people are royally stupid, and can’t seem to figure out that it’s extremely dangerous to try and find a path down to the base of the falls, there is a fence. Even with the stupidity, this is a good idea. While the fence might seem to create a difficulty in taking photographs, it’s really that the falls are at an odd angle from the viewpoint, and I don’t think you can avoid that, even if the fence weren’t there. While the photo I’ve included here isn’t my favorite, it’s the one that actually reveals that there are many parts to the falls. There even seems to be a “cave” where the river has eroded away rock. This is difficult to notice, and took me a few minutes to figure out there was this other part to the falls.

Directions:

  1. Nooksack Falls is relatively easy to find. Head east on WA-542 (which can be found near Bellingham).
  2. Pass through the village of Glacier, and go about 7 miles further.
  3. On the right, you will find Forest Road 33. A sign for Nooksack Falls makes it nearly impossible to miss the turn. Turn right.
  4. Go down the unpaved, but manageable, road until you cross a one-way bridge. There will be a circular parking area to your left shortly after this. Park there. It’s at most 0.5 miles from WA-542.
  5. From the parking area, head toward the sign for the falls. It’s a very short hike, though if it’s raining, the rocks could be slippery.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 88′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Nooksack Falls in early November 2013

Where in the World is Nooksack Falls?