The access road to Canyon Lake Community Forest, owned by Sierra Pacific, was washed out in several places from storm damage in 2009. Beginning in August 2017 the road to the trailhead is closed as the bridge is being replaced and there is blasting in the area. There is no public parking or vehicle access to the trailhead. Accessing the Forest requires a 5.7 mile hike or bike to the trail head.
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 trees 1,000 years old. The excellent habitat provides opportunities to see owls, bears, cougars, diminutive pica and more.
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 miles round trip
Old Growth Forest and Canyon Lake 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.
Canyon Lake Community Forest is managed as a nature reserve. The park is an excellent place to view owls, bears, cougars, and the diminutive pika. In order to protect wildlife and enhance wildlife viewing, pets, livestock, and bikes are not allowed.
Funding 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.