Lake Whatcom Park In Bellingham Washington And The Hertz Trail Attract People To Bellingham From All Over Northwest Washington 
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Lake Whatcom Park WA & The Hertz Trail - Bellingham Washington

Lake Whatcom Park, Whatcom County's 8,844 acre nature preserve is one of the largest local parks in the U.S. and perhaps one of the best ways to explore Lake Whatcom's Eastern shore, although much of the preserve not yet open to the public.

Located only 11 miles east of Downtown Bellingham near the end of North Shore Drive, Lake Whatcom Park offers visitors both lakeside and mountain trails to explore. There is free parking and restrooms at the trail head. (Bellinghamsters Are Great People But Be Sure To Lock Your Car And Keep Valuables Out Of Sight)

The Hertz Trail is an EZ and mostly shaded trail that traces the shoreline of Lake Whatcom South towards the site of the old Blue Canyon Mine. The trail itself is a "Tracks to Trail" scenario that uses the old steam train right-of-way that once hauled coal from the mines to waiting ships at Bellingham's waterfront. 

Lake Whatcom Map - Lake Whatcom Park Bellingham WashingtonHiking The Hertz Trail

The Hertz Trail is about as easy a trail as you can find in the Bellingham area, making it great for the whole family. The steepest portion of the train is the first segment of the trail leading from the parking area down to the lakeside where you will find a covered pavilion with a story board chronically a brief history of Lake Whatcom's Mining and Logging past including logjams, landslides, and gatherings at the "White City" amusement park located at the north end of the lake.

The trail allows bikes, children, and dogs as long as they are on a leash but please be sure to bring some pet-poop bags. We noticed a few piles along the trail, obviously from dogs who's owners were too caught up admiring the beautiful lake views to notice what their dog was doing. You could kick these piles into the lake but please remember that the Lake is Bellingham's drinking water. Why not instead be a hero and bring a few extra dog bags with you on your walk--they're free at the trailhead so why not?

Information-Pavillion on the Hertz Trail Bellingham WashingtonThe Hertz trail itself is 3.1 miles long, however it's really a 6.2 mile trail if you plan on making it back to your car. Some people may find the idea of hiking a trail difficult but even if you aren't a super-fit trail blazer you should find the trail an easy challenge.

There are a number of benches along the way to rest or just take in the beautiful views across the lake and you can go as little or as far as you like. Bring some bottled water and a snack if you plan on staying a while and be sure to bring your camera as well because there are a lot of great vantage points along the way.

One Mile Marker On The Hertz Trail

One popular destination is about a third of the way on the Hertz Trail. You'll find a covered bridge, lakefront bench and waterfalls to admire and they make a great turning around point for those wanting a shorter 2 mile trek.

Covered Bridge On The Hertz Trail Lake Whatcom Park.The covered bridge serves a number of purposes but the main reason it's a covered bridge is to help extend it's life by protecting the lower bridge itself from rotting out. This unique covered bridge will get over the small stream but it can also be used as a shelter if you get caught in a rain storm and want to wait it out--although around here if you're waiting for the rain to stop you could be there for weeks.

The 1.0 mile bridge is one of two covered bridges built in 2014 by the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation department. The second bridge is at the 1.75 mark on the trail and a few feet longer. There are some published reports that the bridges cost around $7,000 each to build and seems as though they were built to last.


Beyond The Hertz Trail 1.0 Mile Bridge

On the other side of the Hertz Trail Bridge you'll find the 1.0 mile trail marker and from there on the trail seems to change a bit in character with some areas of large boulders and rocky hillsides on the mountain side. There are also further remnants of the old Bellingham Bay & Eastern Railroad like old wooden pilings in the water and concrete bulkheads along the lakeside.

Look across the lake an you will notice Camp Firwood Summer Camp and the 3 acre Reveille Island owned by Camp Firwood. Bellingham Washington Is One Of The Most Livable Cities In The United StatesAs you might have imagined the little island was apparently held in high regard by local Indians who may have held ceremonies there.

As you continue your way on the trail It seems to get more interesting for the next mile or so and then you'll notice the surroundings become a bit more rustic. The south end of the lake is much less populated and less developed giving it an unspoiled natural feel.

Watch Out For Kokanee

The stream running under the Hertz Trail 1.0 Mile bridge is visited by fresh water Salmon each fall as they make their way upstream to spawn. We would like to return in the fall to see these elusive Kokanee Sockeye Salmon because just a few hundred feet upstream from the bridge is a high waterfall that these little fish couldn't possibly make their way up. It would be sad to think this covered bridge may be the end of the line for them. It could be the last thing they see if they go up the wrong creek.

There is a Kokanee fish hatchery at the south end of Lake Whatcom operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that has been raising fishlets for over 100 years. Apparently Brannian Creek is the main attraction for Kokanee in Lake Whatcom. Brannian Creek produces the highest number of hatchery-spawned Kokanee fish in the country. Kokanee Sockeye Salmon Lake Whatcom Park Bellingham Washington



The Kokanee Salmon raised at the Lake Whatcom hatchery are used to stock 36 lakes around Washington State. It's not known if any of these fish ever find their way home to Lake Whatcom but anything's possible?

 DID YOU KNOW? Kokanee is an Okanagan Indian Language word for land-locked lake populations of Sockeye Salmon.

The Hertz Trail is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the shores of beautiful Lake Whatcom

Lake Whatcom Is Washington's 4th Largest LakeLake Whatcom - A Pristine Glacier Carved Lake And True Natural Wonder

Lake Whatcom is Washington State's 4th largest natural lake and perhaps one of it's most beautiful, from it's Northern end with it's million dollar homes and parks to it's less populated Southern end. The clear and clean waters of Lake Whatcom provides recreational opportunities for residents as well as fresh drinking water for over 88,000 thirsty residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County.

Hertz Trail Is One Of The Best Ways To Enjoy Beautiful Lake WhatcomThis approximately 11 mile long natural lake was carved by glaciers during the last Ice Age and like many glacier carved lakes, Lake Whatcom is deep. In comparison, Photo Bellingham Wa Seagull Scotland's Loch Ness is almost exactly twice as long and twice as deep as Lake Whatcom at approximately 22 miles long and 700+ ft deep. (It's probably safe to presume that any strange creatures living in the lake are twice as large as well?)

One interesting feature about Lake Whatcom is even though it's located high in the hills above Bellingham, it's so deep that the bottom of the lake is actually 35 ft below sea level. The surface of the Lake is 315 ft however the deepest areas of the lake are about 350 ft.

Lake Whatcom is divided into three distinct basins with very different depths. The north end of the lake within the city limits of Bellingham  has a maximum depth of 100 ft.  The mid portion of the lake near Strawberry point to Sudden Valley, across to Agate Bay is up to 60 ft deep, and as most fisherman know or anyone with a boat with a depth sounder knows, the Southern end of the lake is the deepest at 350 ft.  In fact the Southern Basin also holds over 90% of all the water in Lake Whatcom.


Lake Whatcom Park Bellingham Washington Is Located On The Eastern Shore Of Lake Whatcom.Getting To Lake Whatcom Park / Hertz Trail

Drive east on Alabama Street to the top of the hill.

Turn Left On North Shore Drive

Continue as the Road Winds Around A Small Neighborhood Strip Mall And Convenience Store. (Site of the old "White City" Amusement Park and Roller Coaster).

The road name changes to North Shore "ROAD".-- Continue for 5.4 miles then follow signs to the left into Lake Whatcom Park.   

Lake Whatcom Park is basically located midway on the Eastern Shore of Lake Whatcom opposite the Sudden Valley Marina and Reville Island.


Hertz Hiking Trail Lake Whatcom Park Washington North Shore Drive Signs To Lake Whatcom Park The Parking Lot For Lake Whatcom Park Trailhead For Hertz Trail At Lake Whatcom Park - Bellingham Washington Map Of Hertz Trail - Lake Whatcom Park Washington Information Board At Hertz Trail Washington Shelter On Hertz Trail - Bellingham Washington
Strange Wood Along The Hertz Trail Bellingham Washington Hertz Trail Washington - Photo Hertz Trail Bench At One Mile Marker And Covered Bridge Waterfall Photo At Covered Bridge On Hertz Trail Hertz Trail Lake Whatcom Washington Old Steam Railway Track - Hertz Trail Washington Photo Lake Whatcom Washington Photo

 Shopping In Blaine Washington Is Convenient And Easy With Ample Parking
Trail Etiquette On The Lake Whatcom/Hertz Trail

When you think of hiking in nature and getting away from it all you may think of fresh air, birds and trees. When you're sharing a trail with others there are a few things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable both for you and others you may encounter on at trail.

Litter & Butts - Pack it in / Pack it out. nobody wants to step around someone's old cigarette butts, roach, trail bar wrappers or dog mess.

Watch your noise levels - People go hiking to hear the wind through the trees and the birds singing, not other people chatting on their cell phone or playing wrap music on their radio.

Be courteous - Say a simple hello to fellow hikers you meet and then give other parties some space. Taking a 3 minute break may be all you need to get some distance between you and other hikers. And if you need to pass others then do it quickly and be on your way.




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Be Bear Aware When Hiking Anywhere Bears Could Possibly BeBe Bear Aware On Any Trail

While there are no posted warnings about immediate threats from bears at Lake Whatcom Park, when you are hiking in the wilderness or at the edge of any wild area in Washington there is a possibility you could encounter local wildlife, including Eagles, Coyotes, cougers and bears.

 Washington has an estimated Black Bear population of 30,000 and while bears prefer to avoid people, confrontations can happen. The North Cascades is Black Bear Country and Bear hunting is even allowed in Whatcom County. There is a 2 bear kill maximum per hunting year so there are still plenty of bears around.

If you encounter a bear there is no way you can outrun it so don't even try because it will just cause it to chase you. Bears can charge you at close distances at 30 miles per hour. It is best to stay calm and retreat slowly if possible. If an attack appears eminent you may want to climb a tree at least 33 feet high. The bear could still climb the tree and pull you out of it but more than likely the bear won't want to bother if you no longer appear to be a threat.

There are Bear Bells you can buy to wear while you are hiking to warn unsuspecting bears you are approaching. They can be purchased online for about $6.00 or possibly in a local outdoor sporting store.

If a bear makes contact and actually attacks you be sure to protect your neck and face if possible and use any means of defense you can find including pepper spray, pocket knife or legal firearm. We suggest you visit the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Website for more information about bears and suggestions about what to do if you should encounter one in the wild. 

Zip Codes For Blaine Wa 98230 & 9823  Population: Approximately 5000 Residents

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Shopping Guide To Bellingham Washington Area Stores And Shopping Areas 
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