Canyon Lake Community Forest

***Public Notice***

Vehicle access to the Canyon Lake Community Forest trailhead is unavailable. Please see the below access map for walk-in options.
Canyon Lake Access Route Map

The County is in the final stages of negotiating public access to Canyon Lake. We anticipate public access will be available by early to mid summer 2024.

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hiking fishingwildlife viewingno dogs

An Old-Growth Find

In 1993 an exceptional old-growth forest was discovered and became Canyon Lake Community Forest. With over 2,200 acres this nature reserve has opportunities to hike around a 45 acre lake filled with cutthroat trout or through an old-growth forest with 1,000 year old trees. The excellent habitat provides opportunities to see owls, bears, cougars, diminutive pica and more.

*Please, no pets at Canyon Lake Community Forest

Getting to Canyon Lake Community Forest
In 2009, the access road to Canyon Lake Community Forest, owned by Sierra Pacific, was washed out in several places due to storms. Beginning in August 2017 the road to the trailhead was closed. There is no public parking or vehicle access to the trailhead. Accessing Canyon Lake Community Forest requires a 5.7 mile hike or bike to the trailhead.

Nature Reserve

Canyon Lake Community Forest is managed as a nature reserve. In order to protect wildlife and enhance wildlife viewing, pets, livestock, and bikes are not allowed.


The $3.7 million funding to purchase the forest was made possible through the generous support of The Paul G. Allen Forest Foundation, Whatcom County Conservation Futures Fund, and many community donors.

  1. Trails

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Lake Loop Trail

The Lake Loop Trail is an easy 2 mile round trip trail meandering around Canyon Lake and through the forest. Viewpoints reveal the features of the lake, from the cutthroat trout living in the lake to the massive landslide that formed the lake, probably as a result of a major earthquake within the last 200 years. A trailside exhibit features a well-preserved palm frond fossil.
Easy, 2.0 miles loop

Old Growth Forest and Canyon Ridge Trail

This strenuous trail is approximately 3.7 miles to the ridge viewpoint via the main trail and an elevation gain of 2,150 feet. The trail wanders through the Canyon Lake watershed, passing waterfalls, great views and geologic outcrops, to the old growth forest of Alaska Yellow Cedar, Pacific Silver Fir and Mountain Hemlock that are 800 to 1,000 years old, to a ridge top viewpoint of Mt. Baker and the surrounding area. Please plan at least 5 - 6 hours to hike this trail.
Strenuous, 7.5 miles round trip