Friday, September 6, 2019
Larrabee State Park has two beaches. The beach next to the campground and the other one. Clayton Beach, the other beach, is shown on the park’s trail map. The trail to Clayton Beach looks like a continuation of the Interurban Trail but is not.
The state park map doesn’t show Clayton Beach nor does it show the Clayton Beach trail. One way to find trails is to stumble around on trails until a sign pointing to the desired location is found. This is pretty much the method used to learn about and ultimately find Clayton Beach.
Following the above sign led to the end of the Interurban Trail where it runs into Chuckanut Drive less than a mile from the Larrabee State Park entrance.
Across from the trailhead on Chuckanut Drive is marked parallel parking and another trailhead.
After crossing Chuckanut Drive, another trail leading toward the ocean could be seen. Down the trail just out of sight from the road the trail ended in two trails. One trail left, the other right. The dogs led us to the right.
The the right turn took us north, following the coastline.
At the edge of the trail at one particularly steep drop off, the railroad tracks were directly below.
At some level, seeing the railroad tracks made sense. Both the trail and railroad tracks run parallel to Puget Sound. At several points, the railroad tracks were visible.
Suddenly, the trail ended on Chuckanut Drive at a park entrance closed to vehicle traffic. Walking back into the park and turning around, a sign pointed to the Interurban trail. Only 0.3 miles down the trail we were just on.
Within twenty feet from the entrance was another sign. Clayton Beach 0.86 miles back the way we had come.
Further down the street was a ranger’s residence.
Past the ranger’s residence and around the corner to the right is the day use area parking lot. Turning around and looking back up the road, a sign explains why this was so hard to figure out. The “Do Not Enter” sign only refers to vehicles, not pedestrians.
At this point, the dogs and I returned to camp. Clayton Beach would have to wait another day.
Now we knew how to get to the Clayton Beach trail without crossing Chuckanut Drive and on the shortest trail path.
Picking out the trail at dawn was a bit tough in places. Fortunately, the lighting kept getting better and better.
Not long after passing the path down from Chuckanut Drive where the Interurban Trail ends, another path appears to the left up toward Chuckanut Drive.
Then across a lovely footbridge. The trail flattened out to a consistent and smooth gentle slope.
Nice to see official state park signage. Nice to know this is a real trail.
At some point, getting to the beach requires crossing the railroad tracks. Crossing the tracks was uncomfortable with the dogs in tow. What if a train came?
The tracks seemed much taller than I remember. After all, it has been decades since I crossed tracks like this.
Back on the trail again. Like before, the trail continued on a smooth slight downward slope until the trail drop off.
Plunk, right onto the beach.
On the beach, looking out toward Puget Sound, a Gillnetter was fishing in the predawn light. At low tide, the beach includes several little coves like the one above and a large stretch of beach to the south. At high tide, the coves can be accessed by short little trails off the main trail.
Again, the Gillnetter can be seen fishing. The fishing boat isn’t far from where it was first seen. The camera is looking north along the main beach.
The train tracks run parallel to the shoreline but they are up the hill enough the tracks are hard to see from the beach. Trains would be visible between the trees.
Sand Dollar grave yard. Hundreds of sand dollars in various degrees of decay in the intertidal zone, the beach area between high and low tides.
After wandering around on the beach for an hour, it can be rough finding the trail back.
Guessing that the above sign stood near the trail, the trail from the beach back to camp came rapidly into view.
Back to camp we went. Satisfied that Clayton Beach and the trails had been conquered.
Hope to see you on the road ahead.