MOUNT BAKER GUIDED DAY HIKES
Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes “Re-Wild” Your Spirit! by connecting you to the wilderness, the wildlife and the wildflowers of the North Cascades in NW Washington! Experience the vastness, the timelessness, the quiet, the solitude, the magnificence of this mountain range protected by the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, North Cascades National Park and Washington State Parks. A variety of well maintained and easily accessible trails around Mt Baker offer a variety of hiking options and accommodate all hiking levels. Pick a trail and let’s go hiking!
MT BAKER AREA TRAILS
Mt Baker Area Trails are accessed via Baker Highway’s Scenic Byway SR542. From sea level, this road leads you through the endless PNW rainforest before climbing to the sub-alpine and finally the alpine zones at the end of the road at 5140 ft. This is the northernmost stretch of the North Cascades guarded by their ever-present giants Mt Baker (10,871 ft) and Mt Shuksan (9,131 ft). This is also the northernmost area of the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest where two visitor centers offer plenty of information.
Artist Ridge Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
Experience the vastness of the North Cascades wilderness from this high point at the end of the road! After being buried under tens of feet of snow in the winter, Artist Ridge Trail becomes the most popular Mount Baker Guided Day Hike because of its easy access and spectacular 360 vistas. On clear days, you’ll be at eye level with the tops and glaciers Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan, as well as Table Mountain and the many other peaks of the American and Canadian North Cascades! Even when clouds are dancing amongst the mountains, the feeling of freedom will be there.
This short and sweet loop trail (1 mi round trip/200 ft elevation gain) can be enjoyed by everyone. It takes you along a crisscross of gravel and dirt paths around exposed bedrock and tarns (small mountain ponds filled by snowmelt and rain) to its destination: Huntoon Point, standing at 5150 ft. Look down and you may catch a glimpse of Baker Lake shimmering in its valley. Contorted mountain hemlock along with a garden of tiny alpine plants and wildflowers can easily distract you from the surrounding scenery. Summer wildflowers and fall foliage paint the mountain sides with a palette of browns, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, whites, pinks and purples, much more impressively than an artist could do so…
Bagley Lakes Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
Feel the serenity and timelessness that fills the wilderness of the North Cascades in Bagley Lakes! Bagley Lakes Trail meanders quietly at the base of Table Mountain and Mt Herman, serenated by its trickling creek, while the Heather Meadows Visitor Center stands sentinel over this basin.
This easy loop trail (3 mi round trip/150-300 ft gain) can be enjoyed by everyone, especially the wildflower lover. It offers several dirt paths around its two small sparkling lakes, and to get from one side of the lakes to the other, two short bridges need to be crossed. This tranquil basin is bathed in color with its summer wildflowers and its fall foliage, making this one of my favorite trails to look at the incredible variety of subalpine flowers and berry bushes. Oh, and don’t get too startled when a marmot screeches as you pass by its neighborhood.
Chain Lakes Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
Experience the ruggedness of the North Cascades when you hike this trail! The Chain Lakes Trail is for the avid hiker; it is a strenuous 9 mile-long loop that gains 1700 ft in elevation. Starting on the Wild Goose Trail at 5100 ft, you’ll descend into the Table Mountain basin below filled by an alpine lake and a myriad of colorful wildflowers.
Then, the steep climb begins: scramble over scree (rocky) slopes guarded by marmots and pikas, traverse long switchbacks bordered by blueberry and huckleberry bushes, and you are there! Well, half way there at Herman Saddle, the highest point on the trail at 5400 ft (which can have a bit of snow even in summer).
Look back on the trail and you’ll discover you’ve been under the watchful eye of Mt Shuksan. Turn around to see Mt Baker patiently awaiting your presence. After taking in the vastness of the scenery, begin the 3.5 mi descent into a cool forest 600 ft down to Iceberg Lake (are there really icebergs there?) on the west side of Table Mountain’s towering basalt walls. On a hot summer day, take a plunge into one of the smaller lakes nearby.
The trail then continues upward bringing Mt Baker closer and bigger. At the junction with the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, look for mountain goats at a distance (on a lucky day you might see them). From here, you’ll enjoy the last and flat portion of the loop along a steep scree slope that brings you back to Artist Point, our starting point. Patches of wildflowers and screeching mammals will accompany you on this traverse.
Take off those hiking boots and pat yourself for having completed this challenging trail and for having experienced the wilderness, the wildlife and the wildflowers of the North Cascades on this Mount Baker Guided Day Hike!
For more information and details go to Hiking in the North Cascades Tour and Chasing Wildflowers in the North Cascades.
BAKER LAKE AREA TRAILS
Baker Lake Area Trails are accessed via the Cascade Loop Highway SR20. Getting to the trailheads in this area is half the experience: 14 miles lined with huge maples, cottonwoods and alders begin transporting you into the enchanted wilderness of the North Cascades.
Baker Lake Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
Experience being nestled by the Great PNW Rainforest and surrounding mountains! Baker Lake Trail is for everyone who want to hike on a easy trail that stretches 9 mi alongside the entire eastern bank of Baker Lake, and gains only 500 ft. It can be hiked as far as one desires. The trickling sound of rivulets will accompany you as you weave in and out of view of Baker Lake. You’ll be greeted by stands of groves of old forest giants (firs, cedars, hemlocks & maples) covered with moss and drooping with lichens, by expanses of ferns, by a carpet of moss and ground cover, and by some downed logs (secretly and slowly decomposing by a myriad of fungi) that will require some agility getting over or under. Eventually Mt Baker takes center stage, reflecting its majesty onto its sparking lake and capturing your soul!
Anderson-Watson Lakes Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
The secret beauty beheld by the North Cascades unveils itself on this hike! Accessed by a winding and upward 10 mi forest service road past the trailhead to Baker Lake, spectacular views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan soon emerge on the approach to the trailhead sitting at 4300 ft.
This moderately easy 6 mi trail traverses sheltered mountain hemlock stands, open heather meadows at the base of towering Anderson Butte, marshy meadows bordering streams and small lakes, until an impressive piece of the North Cascades skyline shocks your view at 4900 ft. If that wasn’t enough, the gorgeous setting of Watson Lakes will make you feel as if you’ve found a little piece of heaven, the North Cascades’ heaven that is. Boardwalks and stepping stones add character and ease to enjoying this trail.
Park Butte Trail – Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes
Feel the power of Mount Baker as you stand on Mt Baker itself! But first, you must endure a 9 mi winding and potholed forest service road and then a 7.5 mi strenuous ascent from 3300 ft to 5450 ft tackling a varied and challenging-at-times terrain.
As you set foot on the trail, you immediately cross a short stout bridge over the rushing waters of Sulphur Creek decorated by beautiful greenery designed by nature. Still on rather flat but uneven terrain, you enter the tranquil Schriebers Meadows filled by heathers, berry shrubs, some boggy type vegetation, and mosquitos. Continue on through a bit of hemlock forest, crossing the rocky Rocky Creek (while trying not to twist an ankle as you hop in between/on rocks), and up 2 miles of switchbacks luckily under a cool (literally and figuratively) old-growth cedar and hemlock forest, to Moritz Meadow.
Up a little more and there are the stunning 360 views! Colossal Mt Baker standing grand, alpine meadows filled with wildflowers and later with blueberries, and the North Cascades drawing an endless skyline. It takes a few minutes to realize what an awesome place on Earth you are standing on!
Way in the distance is the miniature Park Butte fire lookout, sitting atop a thin ridge and offering an amazing eye-level view of the Twin Sisters Range and the Nooksack Valley below from 5450 ft. Checking out the fire lookout itself is worth the final mile high trip. But if the ridge looks intimidating, there are other phenomenal options: exploring the meadows, photographing a reflection of Mt Baker in two gentle little tarns (ponds), and a short hike to the edge atop the mountainous moraine carved by Easton Glacier. Or just sit up high and take it all in…
For more information and details go to Hiking in the North Cascades or Chasing Wildflowers in the North Cascades.
Mount Baker Guided Day Hikes with Stephanie Fernandez, 28 years guiding Nature Adventures!
Stephanie Fernandez is the owner of Skagit Guided Adventures and what she enjoys most as an Adventure Guide is watching people be amazed and touched by nature. Stephanie says: “Seeing their spirit glow from that connection is priceless!” Stephanie has been leading nature explorations, by land and sea, from the equator to the sub-arctic since 1989. She has worked as a hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, polar bear & whale watching guide in Texas, the Florida Keys, Cancun, Baja, Hawaii, Canada, and Alaska.
Stephanie has a Master’s degree in Marine Biology and her certifications include: Wilderness First Aid, First Aid & CPR, Open Water Scuba, ACA Kayak Instructor and USCG 100 ton Captain’s license. Stephanie is also fluent in Spanish.
Stay longer! Check out more Skagit Guided Adventures for a multi-day experience to “Re-Wild” Your Spirit! in NW Washington. Also, check out Visit Skagit Valley for more things to do during your visit to the Great PNW!