Sehome Hill

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Washington, United States, North America
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
620 ft / 189 m
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Sehome Hill
Created On: Oct 9, 2015
Last Edited On: Oct 9, 2015


Sehome Hill from downtown Bellingham
Sehome Hill from downtown Bellingham

Sehome Hill, which is located on the eastern end of Bellingham, is a very famous park and summit.  I was honestly very surprised not to see it written up on SummitPost already. This summit is a small summit and is in many ways the same kind of summit as Rock Rimmon or Mount Battie. Often there are many people who will visit these type of summits but will not think anything of them when they are there. The summit itself is official by Washington State standards and has over 420 feet of prominence. There is a very popular city park there called the Sehome Hill Arboretum. It has over 6 miles of both paved trails and unpaved trails. The park is very popular with college students from Western Washington University. Many of the student run up in the park after classes to enjoy the peace in the serenity of the park.

Looking towards Mount Baker
Looking toward Mount Baker from the Observation Tower
Hazy view towards Victoria Island
Victoria Island from the Observation Tower

The official summit of Sehome Hill is not the most popular part of the park and is often bypass by most non-peakbaggers. There area is a brushy place located just north of the parking area in the Arboretum. It is a 100 feet in elevation and around a tenth mile round-trip from the parking area located just south of the famous tunnel. Officially it is located just off the Tunnel Ridge Trail. There is nothing here to keep one here for more that a minute unless views of a cell phone tower in the woods or views of bushes thrill you. There is one set of rocks that the trail travels through just south of Sehome Hill that is somewhat interesting but that is it. 

BearQueen on the true summit
BearQueen on the true summit
BearQueen modeling on a rock
BearQueen modeling on the rock near the true summit

One could also walk up the Tower Ridge Trail for the other sub-summit of Sehome Hill located just north of the famous tunnel but from what I saw that was clearly lower. On the north side of this ridge lies the famous wooden observation tower. Which overlooks to the north Mount Baker and the Twins and to the west the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island. It should be noted that this view is becoming rapidly overgrown and in the next ten to fifteen years it will not have anymore views unless modifications are done. 

The twins from the Observation Tower
The twins from the Observation Tower

Getting There

VIA THE SEHOME ARBORETUM: From I-5 get off on the Samish Way exit and head west for a hundred feet or so. Make a left onto the Bill McDonald Parkway. Stay on the road for 3/4 miles until you reach the Arboretum Drive (25th Streer). Make a right and either park in the immediate parking are for access to trails or take the road all the way up to end which is very close to the true summit of Sehome Hill. 


The tunnel near the summit
The tunnel near the summit
Sehome Hill
is home to a good number of routes to the summit and the observation lookout. All of these trails are easy walk-ups and none of these trails should take more than a half of a day. Check out the map below for more details. 

Map of the Sehome Hill Arboretum
Map of the Sehome Hill Arboretum

Red Tape

The park has specific hours of when to enter or not. Typically they are dawn to 11 but always the City of Bellingham Sehome Hill Page just to make sure.  There is no fee at the trailhead. 

When to Climb

Fall colors on Sehome Hill
Fall colors are coming out
Fall Colors beginning to show
Fall colors

This park is open all year round. The road to the Arboretum near the summit is open though at specific times. You can still walk up the road if it is closed though. This park is popular anytime of the year and in almost any weather condition so don't expect peace or serenity when you are at this park. Sunset are classic from the Observation Tower though the view is now fading fast up at the top.   


Camping is prohibited at the Sehome Hill Arboretum.

External Links

Sehome Hill Peakbagger Page