Canyon Lake Old Growth Community Forest

2,260 acres, ancient forests, Canyon Lake, fossils, varied habitat
Location: Canyon Lake Road, Deming


This park protects one of the oldest stands of native forest in the Pacific Northwest. Some of these trees have escaped fire and other natural disturbances to survive 1000 years.

In 1993, the Whatcom Land Trust identified the Canyon Lake property as a top conservation priority. It was acquired through the efforts of a public/private partnership and generous financial support from The Paul Allen Forest Protection Foundation, the Whatcom County Conservation Futures Fund, Crown Pacific Corporation, the Flintridge Foundation, the Panaphil Foundation and several anonymous donors.

The Community Forest is owned by Whatcom County and Western Washington University. Whatcom Land Trust holds the conservation easement as an added safeguard to ensure the long term protection of the land’s  ecological systems.

Seven hundred acres of old growth forest is located on the southeastern half of the property. Dominant species include Mountain hemlock, Pacific Silver fir and Yellow cedar. A 4.5- mile trail over abandoned logging roads and through the forests provides views of Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters.  A two-mile loop trail offers excellent views of a 45-acre lake.

The highest point of the property is 4954 feet in the northeast corner, sloping to a low point of 2313 feet at the outflow of the lake, near the trailhead parking lot. Canyon Lake is thought to have been formed when a magnitude 7.1 to 7.4 earthquake in 1872 caused a landslide that dammed Canyon Creek.

The varied tree ages and riparian areas provide exceptional habitat for a variety of species including Marbled murrelets, Spotted owls, Red tree voles and bats, as well as fish and larger mammals.

For updated access information, see the Whatcom County Parks page here.

View Canyon Lake Community Forest in a larger map