Van Zandt Dike
A look at the map reveals the appropriateness of the word Dike for the mountain that forces the Middle and South Forks of the Nooksack River to flow around it. Nearly encircled by these rivers it stands alone, a forested island. What makes the Van Zandt Dike of special interest is the open gate access to its top. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages most of the timber on the Dike and conditionally allows public access. Providing that recreation does not harmfully impact forestry practices or wildlife, people are allowed to drive up the gravel road. The road winds through forest, past ponds, clearcuts, and various turnoffs. To the west, views of the Van Zandt Valley are framed by cascading waterfalls rushing off of Stewart Mountain. To the east and south, Bowman and Blue Mountains can be seen. Beyond them stand the distinctive rock crags of the Twin Sisters range.
A drive around the Dike provides a pleasant diversion. Begin in Van Zandt where the view of the waterfalls pouring over the bare sandstone cliffs can be spectacular in the spring. Once-prominent features like Devil’s Slide and Tinling Falls have been temporarily lost from view as dense forest regain clearcut slopes. The historic importance of this valley is found in the small community cemeteries located along the base of the Dike. The names found here reflect many of the roads and features found in Whatcom County. Along the east side of the Dike, Mosquito Lake Road is a nice rural drive to the North Fork of the Nooksack River joining the Mount Baker Highway by The Welcome Store. For those wanting a stretch of the leg, a short hike from the valley to the beginning of the ridge can be found near the end of Clipper Road.
From Highway 9 just north of Acme, turn east onto Mosquito Lake Road. In 1.7 miles look for the DNR sign on the north (left) side, next to the gravel road.
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San Juan Islands