Taking an afternoon or an evening to go down to the beach is one of my favorite things to do. If you use this trail, you will get to do a short, slightly difficult ropes course down to the train tracks and then have the opportunity to follow the tracks in either direction until you find something interesting. I am not going to specify which direction to go, just do whatever you think will be fun.
Finding the Beach
Upon leaving Bellingham, head for the historic district of Fairhaven. Upon arrival, try not to get distracted by all of the adorable shops and goodies along the way, and head down Washington State Route 11. You will come to a stop light at the end of town, past a gas station, keep left. You will go past an organic garden immediately on your left and that’s how you will know you’re on the right path. Continue on the road for about 15 or 20 minutes and enjoy the view.
This road is not for the faint of heart. As a driver, be aware that the road here is very narrow, it meant to be a “looky lou” drive and not a speedway. Take your time and admire the beauty of the Chuckanut Bay.
You will see a lot of little turn outs on the right hand side, but just wait! You’ll be able to get your photo – op soon enough!
Keep going until you see a parking lot with a small stone wall surround it. There will be a large sign with details about Chuckanut Drive and it’s history, along with some easy access parking on both sides. You will know you’re at the right spot if you see a stone picnic bench in the grass just before the turn off.
From here, head to the right of the wall, and start your decent. The first rope is only about 25-30 ft down the trail.
Now get ready for a scramble. Hold the ropes for stability, but don’t hold too tight! No one likes rope burns!
Once you are down on the water, there are a number of things you can do (dependent on the time of year). If you are down on this beach in the fall season, there are opportunities to see crabs, crayfish, starfish, anemones, and jellyfish. There are also a multitude of shells, fossils, and really interesting rocks in this area as well.
Just remember, BE CAREFUL ON THE TRAIN-TRACKS as failure to pay attention could result in DEATH.
Finding creatures at the beach is the best. When you start really looking at the complexities of what lies underneath the water, it just brings more motivation to go looking.
Make sure that you don’t take everything you find interesting from the beach, for if everyone took something each time they came, there wouldn’t be much of a beach left. So collect the things you find to be amazing, and take a photo. Leave those items back at the beach for someone else to find, or for the ocean to reuse.
After you get your fill of the ocean, or in my case, the sun finally sets, head on back up the ropes course, and have a safe and beautiful drive back home.