Where are the best waterfalls in Whatcom County?
Those who love the sights and sounds of waterfalls — the sheer power of water pounding over rock — don’t have to travel far to get their fix in Whatcom County.
There are 395 waterfalls in Whatcom County listed by the Northwest Waterfall Survey.
Spring is the peak time for waterfall hunting, and many are easily accessible on foot or by bike, bus or car.
March 2019 had one-third of its normal rainfall and temperatures were much warmer than normal and the USGS says the Nooksack River is “much below normal” at Glacier and “low” at Ferndale.
But that doesn’t mean the waterfalls aren’t worth a visit the year.
Many waterfalls are found in remote areas of the North Cascades and Mount Baker wilderness, but here are some that are easier to get to from town:
▪ Whatcom Falls Park boasts four total falls, including Whatcom Falls, Whirlpool Falls and Upper and Middle Whatcom Falls (also called Pixie Falls). Whirlpool Falls is where people jump, despite warnings against it. Whatcom Falls, the main falls, is a 20-foot drop above a historic Depression-era stone footbridge.
▪ Lower Whatcom Falls is in Marine Heritage Park, just before Whatcom Creek enters Bellingham Bay. It’s below the Dupont Street bridge and is best seen during the late fall, winter and early spring when surrounding trees don’t block the view. Best views are from the bridge and on the right side of the creek halfway between Dupont Street and a footbridge.
▪ Nooksack Falls, just off Mount Baker Highway, about seven miles east of the Glacier Public Service Center, a U.S. Forest Service ranger station, has an 88-foot drop.
▪ Racehorse Creek, off North Fork Road in the Mount Baker foothills, features several impressive falls. Racehorse Falls drops 139 feet in four tiers.
▪ Middle Sholes Creek Falls is along Wells Creek Road off the Mount Baker Highway.
▪ The Hertz Trail at the east end of North Shore Road along Lake Whatcom has two nice, unnamed waterfalls.
▪ On a side route on the west side of Lake Padden Trail is Padden Creek Falls, which plummets in two stages as it carves through Padden Gorge on its way to Bellingham Bay.
▪ Smaller cascades spill over hillsides on the trails around Arroyo Park in the Chuckanut Mountains.
▪ Lookout Falls is easily accessible from trails in the new Lookout Mountain Park near Sudden Valley Gate 9 on Lake Louise Road. There’s a short but steep climb to viewing area along a maintained trail.
Waterfallsnorthwest uses data from U.S. Geological Survey augmented by waterfall hunter crowdsourcing. It started as a hobby project of Washington native Bryan Swan. Aaron’s Waterfall World is a personal project of Young, who enjoys hiking to and photographing waterfalls.