OverviewWhacme Mountain is a low-elevation but significant peak located in Whatcom County, Washington. The peak actually is known by three different names, none of which are officially recognized: Haner Mountain, Whatcom-Acme (in reference to Lake Whatcom on the immediate west side and the town of Acme on the immediate east side), and Whacme (combination of Whatcom & Acme). Whacme is the most common name used by peakbaggers, especially those people seeking peaks with a lot of prominence.
Despite having a fairly low elevation of 3087', Whacme Mountain (perhaps surprisingly) has 2739' of prominence and is a contender to be the 66th-most prominent peak in Washington. This fact is disputed, however, as nearby Big Foot Hill, found to the north along the same ridgeline, has two summit contours that may or may not contain higher elevations. The two summit contours of Big Foot Hill each range between 3080' and 3100', so it is quite possible that either or neither are higher than Whacme Mountain's 3087' summit elevation. Those seeking the most prominent peaks in Washington must visit all three possible prominence contenders (Whacme Mountain summit, plus two Big Foot Hill summits) to claim a successful completion of the highest prominence along the ridge.
Outside of prominence seekers, Whacme Mountain is seldom visited by people other than loggers and local hikers & bikers. In the past, there were general concerns and questions regarding public access restrictions due to the mountain being maintained and overseen by a local logging company ("Sierra Pacific Industries"), but those access concerns have more recently become less noticable. Along the standard approach, Sierra Pacific controls land and road access for at least the final 1/3 of the summit approach, but the company allows non-motorized public access (i.e. hiking, biking, snowshoeing). The lower northwest slopes of the mountain is a virtual web of various logging roads, hiking trails, and biking trails.
Getting ThereFROM BELLINGHAM, WA:
1) From I-5, take Exit 253 (Lakeway Drive exit).
NOTE: If heading south on I-5, take the exit and turn left (east) onto Lakeway Drive. If heading north on I-5, take the exit, turn right (south) onto King Street and drive a couple of blocks, and then turn left (east) at the stoplight for Lakeway Drive.
2) After ~1.6 miles, getting into the center turn lane and veer left onto Electric Avenue.
3) After 1.1 miles, there is a stop sign. Go straight through the intersection. The road name soon becomes Northshore Drive.
4) Continue following Northshore Drive north, east, and south around the northern end of Lake Whatcom.
5) After 8.1 miles from the Electric Avenue/Lakeway Drive intersection, turn left onto North Shore Road towards the (signed) North Lake Whatcom Trailhead.
6) After 0.5 miles, turn left into the "Lake Whatcom Park - North Shore Rd. Access 2" trailhead lower parking lot.
7) Drive 0.1 miles uphill to the smaller upper parking lot and park.
Standard Summit Approach
FROM UPPER PARKING LOT:
1) Begin hiking/biking up the informally-named Powerline Road (which is also shown on some old maps as the northwestern end of Wickersham Truck Trail Road). A yellow-colored gate is encountered shortly thereafter. Walk around the gate.
2) Continue ascending the Powerline Road, which generally follows the powerlines southward. The road ascends ~2000' elevation gain within the first two miles.
3) At approximately 2300' elevation, the powerlines and road make a noticable bend to the right and rounds a corner. The Powerline Road grade considerably levels-out and only gradually increases from this point on.
4) At approximately 2500' elevation, two roads on the leftside intersect the main road at nearly the same location. Take the second road.
NOTE: The first road is signed as Road 4090, and should be avoided.
5) Follow the side-road, which is fairly level grade, for ~0.3 miles until a red Sierra Pacific Industries gate. Walk around the gate.
6) Continue another ~0.2 miles to a noticable road intersection. The leftside road heads north and uphill towards the Whacme Mountain summit, while the rightside/straight road continues east. Turn left and head uphill towards the summit.
7) Hike along the summit road north, then briefly east and south until next to the summit area.
8) Leave the road and walk almost horizontally to the summit area, which is the site of a recent clearcut. Try finding the highest mound and/or stump to claim the highest point on the mountain.
TOTAL HIKING DISTANCE: Approximately nine miles, roundtrip.
It is possible to mix road-walking with trail-hiking along the ascent and/or descent. Several trails intersect with Powerline Road at various locations, although currently the trail junctions are all unsigned and most are easy to overlook. If interested in hiking any trails, it is recommended to contact the Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Department in advance for suggestions.
Red TapeBeginning during 2011, parking areas and trailheads within and for this area require a Discover Pass to be in each vehicle during the visit. Failure to have a Discover Pass visible within a parked vehicle at these locations can result in a substantial fine. For more information regarding the Discover Pass, please visit the official website.
Non-motorized public access on Whacme Mountain is allowed by Sierra Pacific Industries, a local logging company. That access may be taken away at any time. It is recommended to contact the company in advance, to find out current conditions and access rules.
Due to active logging and service activities along the standard summit approach, it is most recommended to only make summit attempts during weekends and holidays, which is when logging and service operations tend to be at a minimum.