Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Whistle Lake

Distance: It’s just over 3 miles if you take the shortest loop options around the lake. You can take other trails to make longer loops.

Elevation Gain: Approximately 150 feet.

Season: Year-round.

Description: This charming little lake in Anacortes is part of the Community Forest Lands trail system. Kids will delight in the chance to walk right next to the water in sections, and you’ll find birds, flowers, rocks, and deep forest. The trail starts along a gated road, and families can walk hand-in-hand. There is an outhouse about halfway along that road to the lake. Once you’re to the lake, the trail becomes more wild, and travels along the shore of Whistle Lake, dipping down and rising up as terrain changes. At one point it passes through Toot Swamp, and we enjoyed the nice views of Mt. Erie in places. Parking in the small lot can be very crowded on sunny summer days and weekends; get an early start if possible, and respect private property. Pick up a set of maps from the Anacortes Visitor Center, or print out this map from home.

Directions: From I-5 head west on WA Route 20 and continue on Route 20 Spur W. Turn left onto Commercial Avenue at a traffic circle. Turn left onto Fildalgo Ave, then left again at St. Mary’s Dr. Make a right onto Hillcrest and curve around the cemetery, turning right onto Whistle Lake Rd. Follow the signs to Whistle Lake and the parking area. No parking passes are needed.

Links: Find a list of where to buy paper copies of the ACFL maps. Take a self-guided native plant walk with this guide. Plant geeks can also download a list of all the plants around the Whistle Lake area (and other ACFL trails) at this link for the Friends of the ACFL.