Lake Whatcom is a wonderful recreational lake just inside and east of Bellingham Washington. The lake is about 12 miles long and a mile wide at it's widest point. There is approximately 30 miles of shoreline along Lake Whatcom, and the lake is full of about 250 billion gallons of water. Lake Whatcom is typically described as being comprised of three basins, the basins of which are defined by shallow under water ridges, or sills.

Basin one can be found at the bottom of the picture, it is somewhat rectangular in shape, and is the northern most part of the lake. As you might guess, the most densely populated as well. The southern end of basin one is defined by Haggen's Point, the most populated point in the photo, which is located on Fairview street and Geneva sill (lowest point on the right side of the photo). Basin one has a maximum depth of 65', and an average depth of 39'. The small pond- Scutter Pond- in the lower right hand corner of the photo is the lake's outflow to Whatcom Creek. Whatcom Creek runs through Bellingham and empties into Bellingham Bay. The piece of land separating the pond from the lake is where Bloedel Dononvan, Lake Whatcom's largest public park, is located (on Electric Avenue). Bloedel Donovan boasts great beaches, public boat launch, restrooms, ball fields, a volleyball court and play ground. Bloedel Donovan has also been designated as an offleash dog park during the winter season.

Basin two is the smallest basin, and it is the shape of a golf ball (?!). It's southern most boundaries are Mills Point, at the end of Dellesta Drive on the west side of the lake, and Strawberry Point (Strawberry Sill) on the east side of the lake. The water intake for Bellingham's municipal water supply is derived from about 35' of water in this basin. The maximum depth here is 69'. There are rumors that an old house that was swept into the lake from basin three during a flood many years ago lies peacefully at the bottom of this basin.

Basin three has an average depth of 127; with a maximum of 328' and it is interesting to note that the total volume of basin three is 96% of the lake's total water volume. What can we find in basin three? Well perhaps a little more precipitation. Basin three is also home for Sudden Valley, the private gated community located on the east side of the lake that has its own golf course, swimming pool, recreational center, a few restaurants and a mini mall. The island that you see towards the upper south end is Reveille Island, and it is privately owned by The Firs, a Christian church. Camp Firwood, a children's camp, is owned by the The Firs, and most of the campsite lies east of the island along the east side of Lake Whatcom. Lakewood, Western Washington University's sailing center and rental facility is also situated in basin three on the east side of the lake. It is a wonderful place for students, alumni and their families to have an opportunity to sail, kayak, or canoe on Lake Whatcom. They also offer instruction. It is important for motor boaters to know that the only place available on the lake to obtain fuel is located in Basin three, at Wildwood Resort, a few miles south of Sudden Valley. Wildwood Resort offers small cabins and campsites for rent, and a dock. There is one more park on Lake Whatcom worthy of mention. The Hertz Trail is located on the west side of the lake at the very end of Northshore Rd. There are no amenities there aside from "doggy" bags, and a porta-potty, but the gentle trail is well defined, great for walking and running. Look for the rope swing when you check it out. There are .5 mile markers along the way, and the trail extends three miles along the pristine shoreline. Beautiful!