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Rock Trail

Larrabee State Park

Northern Puget Sound, Washington

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Rock Trail

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  • Privy and picnic tables at the trailhead.- Rock Trail
  • A view of the San Juan Islands from the trailhead at Cyrus Gates Overlook.- Rock Trail
  • The hike begins by passing over a forested ridge.- Rock Trail
  • Steps descend from the ridge.- Rock Trail
  • Looking back up to the ridge.- Rock Trail
  • Sandstone rock formations give the trail its name.- Rock Trail
  • Boulders and steps are a common theme on the Rock Trail.- Rock Trail
  • A switchback below a giant rock face.- Rock Trail
  • Passing beneath more sandstone walls.- Rock Trail
  • Honeycomb weathering on the rock face.- Rock Trail
  • Looking down on the trail from a ledge.- Rock Trail
  • The mixed vegetation and rock create a wonderful visual appeal on the Rock Trail.- Rock Trail
  • Zig-zagging through red alder (Alnus rubra).- Rock Trail
  • One of the final sets of stairs.- Rock Trail
  • A small cave underneath a boulder.- Rock Trail
  • The trail ends at the junction with the South Lost Lake Trail.- Rock Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fascinating geology. Access to other trails.
Cons: 
Very steep grade.
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Region:
Northern Puget Sound, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
500.00 ft (152.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
Washington Discovery Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Rock Trail is the newest addition to the extensive trail system at Larrabee State Park. Just over a mile one-way, it drops down from Chuckanut Ridge to the South Lost Lake Trail, and it can be used as a connector path for extended loops as well as an extraordinary stand-alone hike. The project was completed by over 100 volunteers who put in more than 2,000 hours of work. It journeys through an exotic forest, passing beneath massive slabs of “Chuckanut Sandstone.”

The trailhead at the Cyrus Gates Overlook is a worthy destination in itself, sitting just 120 feet below the highest point in Larrabee State Park. An spectacular westward view over the treetops looks out to Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. 

Head off by traveling over the top of of Chuckanut Ridge through a mature forest of western hemlock. Without warning, the route drops down a series of wooden steps into a ravine, clearly indicating why stock and bikes are prohibited. Within a half mile, you’ll be gazing up at the trail’s namesake: 100-foot high sandstone cliffs that have been weathered and warped into spectacles of bewildering beauty. A closer look will reveal thin lines and multiple layers of rock within the walls. These were created over 50 million years ago during a subtropical age by streams flowing from the Rocky Mountains to the sea (of course, the Cascade Range was not standing in the way at the time).

The bottom half of the trail is littered with truck-sized boulders and licorice ferns. Soaring bigleaf maple and red alder form a thin canopy above, bringing ample light and vivid color to mosses and foliage. Just after crossing “Bogaard’s Bridge,” a clear day will yield some great views of the Twin Sisters and Mount Baker to the east. Two tight switchbacks and some final sets of stairs lead to a junction with the South Lost Lake Trail. From here, it’s just a mile further to the north shore.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(79 within a 30 mile radius)

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