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Larrabee State Park - Rock Trail

Puget Sound and Islands

Location

Puget Sound and Islands -- Bellingham Area
View map below

Length

2.4 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1200 ft.
Highest Point: 1820 ft.

Rating

4.27 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2020
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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The Rock Trail is one of WTA's signature projects, built from scratch thanks to WTA’s partnerships with various organizations, including Larrabee State Park and Chuckanut Conservancy. A dedicated group of enthusiastic WTA volunteers worked countless hours here, carving a connector trail out of the steep, rugged hillside from the top of Cleator Road to the South Lost Lake Trail. The Rock Trail provides hikers and trail runners a steep climb, gorgeous views, and a peek at the area's fascinating geology.

From the large parking lot at the Cleator Road trailhead, hikers get expansive views of Puget Sound. But the trail begins descending almost immediately. Though the way is steep -- count the number of stairs you encounter -- the route provides plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Larrabee State Park.

Within a half-mile of the upper trailhead are 100-foot high sandstone cliffs pocked by little holes and large caves. Enormous mossy boulders lie all around you. This area provides an excellent diversion or rest stop for young hikers .

While unusual sandstone formations are common at Larrabee State Park, hikers typically find them near the beach. But the cliffs on the Rock Trail are interesting because they share characteristics with the seaside rocks, despite being far removed from the shoreline.

After exploring the imposing rocks, keep heading down through moss and licorice ferns, crossing a creek via "Bogaards Bridge", named for the WTA crew leaders who helped make the trail a reality. Be sure to look up and out as you hike; on clear days, Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters glide into view just past the bridge.

Continuing down, hikers clamber down three steep sets of stairs and wind through three more switchbacks until the trail flattens out. A huge boulder to the right of the trail, about three-quarters of a mile in , hides an interesting cave for exploring.

From here the junction with the South Lost Lake Trail is quite close. Press on, and note how high the trees soar above your head! At the beginning of your hike, you could see over the tops of some of the trees whose bases you're now walking by.

The end of the Rock Trail is marked by a wooden gate with a sign that indicates 'Hiker Only.' The steepness of the trail is prohibitive to stock and mountain bikers, but other trails in Larrabee State Park are multi-use . If you plan to continue your hike as a loop, keep in mind you may encounter other trail users, and be sure to exercise proper trail etiquette.

 

Larrabee State Park - Rock Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.6538, -122.4649 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Puget Sound and Islands -- Bellingham Area

Whatcom County Parks, Larrabee State Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

USGS Bellingham South

Chuckanut Mountain Recreation Map

Getting There

From I-5 South: Take exit 250, and turn right onto Fairhaven Parkway. Go to the second stoplight and turn left on SR 11/Chuckanut Drive. Stay left at next stoplight, and drive five miles to HiLine Road. Turn left, and follow the (sometimes potholed) gravel road 3.5 miles up the hill as it turns into Cleator Road. The parking lot at the top has room for about 25 cars, and there is a privy available.

From I-5 North: Take exit 231. Turn right onto SR 11/Chuckanut Drive, and drive north 14 miles to the Larrabee State Park entrance. About 1 mile north of the park is HiLine Road. Take a right and follow it to the top. The parking lot at the top has room for about 25 cars, and there is a privy available.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 

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Larrabee State Park - Rock Trail

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