Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve

Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Survey

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hiking biking wildlife viewing

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve

Located at:         2537 Lake Louise Road
Bellingham, WA   

Conservation &
 Park Steward:

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve map icon 104x160

Accessed by a trailhead adjacent to Sudden Valley, Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve spans 4,430 acres on the west side of Lake Whatcom. Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve is comprised of the former Olsen Property and land reconveyed from the Department of Natural Resources to Whatcom County in the spring of 2014.

Whatcom Transit Authority provides bus service to the trailhead on the 512 line. Visit the WTA website for more information.

May 21, 2019 Update                                                                                                                                                                                          New foot and bike trails at Lookout Mountain are complete and all signs are up!                                                                                       

All new trails are open for use. With the completion of the Rufus Creek Trail, there are now more than 8 miles of hiking and biking trails and 8 miles of gated forest roads available for exploration.

New emergency checkpoint signs are posted at key trail intersections. If you or someone in your party is injured, if possible, make your way to the nearest checkpoint and call 911. Relay your location and the nature of your injury to the 911 dispatcher.

To find out more about future phases of trail construction at Lookout Mountain, take a look at the                                                               Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve & Lake Whatcom Park Recreational Trail Plan

  1. Trails
  2. Rules

Rufus Creek Trail  hikingbiking

Starting from the Lookout Mountain Trailhead, the Rufus Creek Trail climbs gently for 4.3 miles to its terminus at the Cougar Ridge Trail. Rufus Creek Trail meanders through a variety of forest types, crosses streams, skirts wetlands, and provides great views of the sandstone cliffs common to Lookout Mountain.

From the Lookout Mountain Trailhead:
Moderate 0.8 miles to the Waterfall Trail and Baneberry Trail
Moderate 1.2 miles to the Leila June Trail
Moderate 2.0 miles to the Backside/Bottoms Up Trail - to Galbraith Mountain
Moderate 3.2 miles to the upper junction of the Baneberry Trail
Moderate 3.5 miles to the Lake Whatcom Overlook
Moderate 4.3 miles to the terminus at Cougar Ridge Trail (bikes only beyond this point)

Waterfall Trail  hiking

A stunning waterfall is accessed by a short loop trail near the junction of Rufus Creek Trail and the LM-2000 Road.

Baneberry Trail  hikingbiking_uphill
Use this steep thigh-burner to make a large loop out of the Rufus Creek Trail. Bikes travel uphill only on this trail.


Leila June Trail  hiking

This hiker-only trail is part of the original Lookout Mountain Loop and provides more options for shorter and longer hikes.

Cougar Ridge Trail  biking_downhillno hiking

This descending-only mountain bike trail follows a sandstone ridge to its terminus on the Rufus Creek Trail. Cougar Ridge is IMBA IMBA blue square More Difficult with optional harder sections.
This trail contains technical terrain features including drops, steep sections, cliff edges, and sharp corners. Heed all warning signs. Examine features before attempting to ride them. Trail conditions may change without notice. Ride at your own risk.

Backside/Bottoms Up Trails  hikingbiking

These trails connect the Lookout Mountain Trail System with the Galbraith Mountain Trail System.