Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Larrabee State Park On Washington's Chuckanut Drive

Spencer Jack at Larrabee State Park
That is my great nephew, Spencer Jack, on the rocky beach of Larrabee State Park.

Larrabee State Park is the oldest state park in Washington, starting with 20 acres in 1915, from land donated by the Larrabee family, with the park named after Charles Xavier Larrabee.

You can reach Larrabee State Park via the extremely scenic Chuckanut Drive.

You drive Chuckanut Drive from the north from Bellingham, from the south from the Skagit Valley.

Larrabee State Park is located near the border between Whatcom and Skagit Counties.

From its early beginnings Larrabee State Park has grown to be one of the largest state parks in Washington, covering 2,683 acres, going from sea level to an elevation of 1,940, on the west side of Chuckanut Mountain.

At Larrabee you will find a boat launch, 67 picnic sites, over 9 miles of hiking trails, 53 tent campsites, 26 trailer hook-up sites and 8 walk-in campsites. If you get the right permits, at Larrabee, you can go fishing, crabbing and clamming. You can also go scuba diving and rock climbing.

Heading east of the beach there are a couple trails that take you up Chuckanut Mountain, one is an old logging road that leads from a parking lot which is also the access point to Teddy Bear Cove. The other trail up Chuckanut Mountain is a hiking trail whose trail head you will find on the east side of Chuckanut Drive, about halfway between the north and south park entries.

The trails up Chuckanut Mountain eventually take you to 3 lookouts where you get expansive views of the San Juan Islands and Rosario Strait. The final trail destination is often Fragrance and Lost Lakes, which you can hike around, fish in, or camp on the lakes' shore.

If you are feeling very energetic you can continue on past Fragrance and Lost Lakes and hike the old logging road to the top of Chuckanut Mountain.

I've ridden my bike to the top of Chuckanut Mountain, via the vehicle access, then coasted the old logging road, at high speed, all the way back to Chuckanut Drive. A few years ago I dropped off Spencer Jack's uncle Joey at the top of Chuckanut Mountain, so he could take the fast bike ride down the mountain.

I believe Joey's bike ride is the last time I have been to the top of Chuckanut Mountain.

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