Larrabee State Park Samish Bay Washington
Like in many previous years, during the lull between winter and spring, I’ve been making several visits to Larrabee State Park. Situated along Samish Bay a few miles south of Bellingham this is one of the best locations for photography in the area. Hikers trail runners and mountain bikers will find numerous trails into the Chuckanut Mountains, but for the photographer, the shoreline along the bay is the place to be. Facing out to the famous San Juan Islands the shore is lined with sandstone cliffs and boulders eroded into fascinating formations, there is even a small natural arch dipping into the water, if you can find it.
Possibly the best location for photos is Clayton Beach at the south end of the park. It is accessed by a trail approximately one-half mile long, once on the beach there are great rock formations to the left and right, my favorite being just to the left of the beach. Back at the main park entrance, a little to the north, a short trail takes you down to a sandstone formation jutting into the bay with more great compositions.
If you go you will need to purchase a day use pass, unreasonably priced at $10, a yearly pass for all Washington State Parks, the Discover Pass is $30. The best time for photography in this park is late afternoon to sunset, when the golden colored sandstone glows in the light. Low tide is best since you’ll be able to access more formations, however since this is a popular park it will be next to impossible to get photos without the sand being tracked out. The good news is that in winter most people leave around sunset, during my last three trips I had the beach all to myself. It’s a different story though in summer when the park is packed with people.
Sandstone pinnacle Larrabee State Park #47154r