Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham WA is a beautiful and large park full of a variety of activities and scenes to engage all visitors. From multiple waterfalls and swimming holes to picnic areas and playgrounds, there is something for everyone in Whatcom Falls Park.
Whatcom Falls Park is a whopping 241 acres of natural forest area with over three and a half miles of trails winding through the trees and waterfalls. Whatcom Falls Park is without a doubt the most popular outdoor attraction in Bellingham WA.
Whatcom Falls Park has been a popular place for outdoor recreation since the 1890s, however back then it was known simply as “Picnic Ground.” The name “Whatcom” is derived from a native word that means “noisy water.” Given the park’s numerous waterfalls, this name seems fitting. Every summertime, the park is flooded with swimmers and cliff jumpers seeking beautiful sights and adventure.
While the park has been around since the 1890s, the majority of its land wasn’t added to the park until the late 1930s. This Bellingham gem includes Whatcom Falls, Whirlpool Falls, a fish hatchery, picnic shelters, two playgrounds, tennis courts, a basketball court, and the historic pedestrian stone bridge. Let’s dive into a few of these different sights you could see in Whatcom Falls Park while in Bellingham Washington.
In June 1999 the park experienced a devastating fire when a buried gasoline pipeline burst and spilled over 200,000 gallons of gas into Whatcom and Hannah Creek. In less than 30 seconds, one and a half miles of the waterfront property burned. While this area is still in restoration, the park is still beautiful and full of adventure for visitors.
Whatcom Falls is the crowning jewel of the park, after all the park is named after this waterfall. The 20 foot drop off Whatcom Falls is best viewed from the park’s well known and historic stone bridge for pedestrians, built in 1939 and still functional today. This is the largest of three waterfalls along the Whatcom Creek found within the Whatcom Falls Park area.
Whirlpool Falls is an 8 foot tall waterfall surrounded by 20-foot cliffs and flowing into a deep pool below. This is the perfect spot for swimmers in those summer months. Some might say this is the park’s center for refreshment and relaxation as it is the best place to take a swim in Whatcom Falls Park.
One of the original features of the park is an old railroad trestle, dating to before the park was even established. The trestle is now abandoned and overgrown. The trestle was originally used to transport coal from the lake to the docks. The trestle is now a sight that many who enter the park come to see and photograph.
Bellingham is full of outdoors areas if you are looking for more adventure and hiking. Check out the Sehome Hill Arboretum if you are looking for more outdoor adventures. If you finished your day at Whatcom Falls Park and are looking for a contrasting or different experience, check out the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention.