Birch Bay State Park
5105 Helweg Road
Closed on Christmas 6:30 AM - Dusk
Birch Bay State Park offers spectacular views of Canada's Gulf Islands and Coast Mountains, and an opportunity to explore the shoreline, forests and marshes typical of the Pacific Northwest. In past centuries, Semiahmoo Indians fished and gathered edible plants from the park's shoreline. Captain George Vancouver is credited with discovering Birch Bay in 1792 and named the area for the plentiful birch trees he found. The nineteenth century saw the area become important to the logging industry; however, in 1954, the need to protect the natural beauty of the site was recognized and it became part of the state park system. Today, both day visitors and campers can enjoy the quiet forests, wetlands and curving shoreline of Birch Bay State Park, ideal for clamming, walking, swimming or just relaxing and enjoying the vista.
An important feature of the park is Terrell Marsh Trail, a one-half mile hiking trail through Puget Sound forest and marsh environments. Terrell Creek Marsh is one of the last saltwater/freshwater estuaries in this part of Washington. The self-guided interpretive trail offers an extremely beautiful meander through a typical northwest mixed forest, including a view of Terrell Marsh, home to blue herons, red-winged blackbirds and other water fowl. The trail has a slight slope and is a very easy walk, even for small children.
Located approximately 18 miles from Bellingham and 30 miles south of Vancouver, Canada, the park offers day use and camping facilities. Day use areas are located near the beach, and include picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, a basketball court, a rain shelter and open grass for leisure activities. Parking is plentiful. The park's 167 campsites are fairly private, and sheltered by towering cedars and douglas firs. Utilities are available at some sites. For those who can't camp without roasting marshmallows, firewood is available from the campground concessionaire or from the local store located near the park entrance. The park is open year-round; reservations are recommended, with unreserved sites available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Take Exit 266 off the I-5 heading north from Bellingham. At the intersection, turn left and follow the clearly posted signs for Birch Bay State Park.
Kid Friendly | Basketball Courts | Bathrooms | Picnic Area | Picnic Tables | Swimming Areas | Walking Trails
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San Juan Islands